Veteran India off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, who now dons the yellow of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has opened up on the astute captaincy and leadership of talisman MS Dhoni.
While reflecting on Dhoni’s captaincy, Bhajji revealed that as captain, he does not offer his advice to bowler’s unnecessarily.
Only when the bowlers fall short of ideas, then Dhoni comes up and offers his advice to them.
Under the captaincy of Dhoni, Bhajji went on to win the 2007 T20 World Cup as well as the 2011 ODI World Cup. Also, they won the iconic 2018 IPL title on their return after the two-year hiatus from the league.
“He is not a captain who says, do this, do that. He wants you to do what you know you can do. Bowl what you know you can. If you can bowl six off-spinners, do that,” Bhajji told ESPNcricinfo.
Also, Bhajji recalled that there had been instances when Dhoni helped him anticipate what the batsman is trying to do from behind the stumps.
Then, the off-spinner provided an illustration to back his statement, using the instance when Shardul Thakur was being taken to the cleaners.
Harbhajan even went up to Dhoni and asked the latter the reason why he wasn’t advising Thakur to change his plans.
“Once Shardul Thakur was bowling in Pune. He was getting hit every ball. First ball four, second ball six. I went to Dhoni and told him, ‘Why don’t you tell him [Thakur] to change the angle or push a fielder back?’,” said the Punjab-born cricketer.
To which Dhoni replied by saying that had he given his insights to Thakur, he would get even more confused. And the bowler can afford being hit for a few boundaries, with CSK already qualified for playoffs.
“As if he had all the time in the world, Dhoni said to me, ‘Bhajju pa, if I tell him anything now, he will get confused. Khaane do.’ [Let him get hit.] He knew we could afford to get hit because we had already qualified for the playoffs,” Bhajji said further.
“He [Dhoni] said, ‘When he [Thakur] feels there is no option left, then I can tell him he could try doing this.’ So Dhoni will not tell you until you realise you are short of ideas,” concluded the 39-year-old tweaker.