VVS Laxman paid a glowing tribute to the retiring Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he highlighted his off-field conduct for being the reason behind worldwide respect for the former Indian captain.
Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday through an Instagram post, ending months of speculation about his international future.
Laxman heaped praise of the wicketkeeper-batsman saying that he handled an extremely high-pressure job of being India’s captain very well.
“Love comes from the cricketing fans for your cricketing achievements, but respect comes by the way you have conducted yourself, by the way you carried yourself,” Laxman said during Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“And I always felt that captaining the Indian team is probably the toughest challenge for anyone, you know because there are so much of expectations from everyone around the world. All the Indians around the world want the Indian team to do well, so there’s a lot of responsibility on the Indian team captain. But MS Dhoni has always been emotionally detached from the results,” he added.
Laxman also said he knew about Dhoni’s decision only when journalists called him to ask for a reaction. The surprise was not just for fans and the media, clearly.
The star Indian batsman also praised Dhoni for being an ambassador of the sport.
“The way he has inspired millions of Indians, not only the sports fans, on how to conduct and how to become an ambassador of your country, how to carry yourself in the public domain. And that’s why he’s so respected.
“When you see the social media posts, it’s not only from the former players or the cricketing fans, it’s from all the Indians, whether you take film stars, socialites, esteemed businessmen, politicians. Around the world, all the former cricketers, all the cricketing fraternity have thanked MS Dhoni for his contribution not to Indian cricket, but world cricket,” the former India batsman said.
Dhoni will feature in the Indian Premier League where he will lead Chennai Super Kings when the competition begins in UAE on September 19.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes Dhoni will be even more dangerous with the pressure of international cricket behind him.
“When he (Dhoni) comes to play in the IPL, I think all the bowlers, even the players who retired like me, will be very happy that they are not bowling against MS Dhoni in the IPL – because he is going to go with full flow,” Pathan said on Cricket Connected.
“Anyways, when he plays for CSK, he enjoys that, his best comes out as a batsman as well. But in this IPL, I am really looking forward to it. All the bowlers, be careful,” he added.
Laxman said that there will be huge interest every time Dhoni steps out on the cricket field given his international career is over.
“Number one is we all have to recognise that he (Dhoni) is very passionate about CSK. One of the reasons CSK has been the most successful franchise has been Dhoni’s leadership. So, he will go out and he will do everything possible for CSK to win the trophy,” he said.
“But as far as the fans are concerned, I think the euphoria will be there to be seen. Till the time he is going to play cricket, he will be captaining CSK. I think each and every movement of Dhoni will be watched very closely, will be relished by each and every cricketing fan of his. So, they will enjoy each and every moment Dhoni spends on the cricket field,” he added.