'Reminiscent of MS Dhoni' - India batting legend praises this IPL skipper's calming influence
Standing at the twilight of his illustrious playing career, MS Dhoni remains the benchmark for excellence in leadership and being a guiding light as captain of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The legend has been such an inspiration in his role at the helm that multiple other IPL skippers have tried to replicate his mode of operation and create an environment he has managed to sustain with the four-time champions.
Of those, defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya has been the one to publicly admit he has followed the MS Dhoni mantra for success with his new franchise and tried to build an atmosphere within the team where each player can maximise his abilities on the field.
The philosophy has worked magic for the Titans, who stood with the coveted crown last summer and have stormed into the IPL 2023 final, set for a marquee summit clash with Dhoni and company in Ahmedabad on Sunday (May 28).
Gavaskar lauds Hardik with Dhoni reference
In an interview with 'JioCinema' earlier in IPL 2023, Hardik Pandya had spoken in detail on MS Dhoni-led CSK being his inspiration for the Titans, with whom, he has tried to create a healthy space for each cricketer to come in and perform to their level best. Pandya had said he sees in CSK a franchise which may not be studded with huge names but one that is able to outstretch its limitations.
Personally, too, the GT skipper has been following Dhoni's calm and composed attitude and while it may not have worked individually this season, he has tried in all honesty to lead his troops from the front throughout the campaign.
For the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, Pandya possesses a calming influence about him, which is reminiscent of the great Dhoni at the helm of CSK. The former India captain turned commentator spoke in praise of his leadership after Titans' win over Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 2, applauding him for being in control at the top job.
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"He (Hardik) has been very open about his admiration and affection for MSD, just like all those who have followed MSD's career. When they go out to the toss, they will be very friendly and smiling all that," Gavaskar told Star Sports.
"But when it comes to the match, it will be a completely different atmosphere. It's a very good opportunity from Hardik Pandya to show how quickly he has learned. When he was captaining for the first time last year, nobody knew what to expect because he has been one of the most exciting and excitable cricketer as well.
"But that excitable part, we have seen over the last year. The calmness that he brings into the team is reminiscent of MSD. This is a happy team, which is exactly what we see with CSK as well. Hardik has to take a lot of credit for that," he added.