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Australia skipper Michael Clarke has announced that his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni did a “wonderful job” during his tenure as Test captain.
Dhoni recently shocked the cricketing world by announcing his retirement from Test cricket following the third Test against Australia in Melbourne, which ended as a draw.
“I cannot imagine there would be many jobs in international sport tougher than being the captain of India’s cricket team,” Clarke wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph. “I doubt many have dealt with the expectation, scrutiny, pressure and extreme adoration better than MS Dhoni.
“How Dhoni has managed to hold down the captaincy while playing all three forms of the game and wicket-keeping is beyond me. He’s done a wonderful job and I think the hole he has left in the Test team will be hard to fill. I wish him all the best for all that lies ahead.”
Clarke also noted that Dhoni’s job was made that much harder since he was constantly under pressure to satisfy the fanatical fans of India and the media as well.
“From a touring captain’s perspective, it’s busy enough,” Clarke wrote. “There are always thousands of fans gathered outside your hotel, many others lined up along the team bus’ routes and a media contingent unlike anything else in world cricket.
“India’s population is almost 1.3 billion. When you’re playing over there, it feels like every single one of them is passionately following the cricket. But we get to fly in, fly out. The Indian players have to live it every hour of every day. Popping out to the coffee shop isn’t an option for them. Most of their time is spent at home, a hotel, an airport or a cricket ground.”
Clarke added that he was looking forward to meeting Dhoni during the fourth and final Test in Sydney.
“I’ve had quite a few chats with MS over the years, and nearly all of them have been about motorbikes,” Clarke wrote. “I love them, but not quite with the same devotion he does. I’m catching up with him at a Spartan BBQ on Sunday and I’ll be riding my Harley there so he can take it for a spin.”