Suresh Raina: Rohit Sharma is the next MS Dhoni
World Cup winner Suresh Raina has described Rohit Sharma – ICC's 2019 ODI Cricketer of the Year – as ‘the next MS Dhoni’. Raina pointed at the parallels between Rohit and Dhoni’s credentials as captain and their leadership qualities on as well as off the field while making the comparison.
"I would say he is the next MS Dhoni for the Indian cricket team. I have seen him, he is calm, he likes to listen. He likes to give confidence to the players and on top of that, he likes to lead from the front. When a captain leads from the front and, at the same time, he gives respect to the dressing-room atmosphere, you know you have it all,” Raina said on The Super Over Podcast.
"He thinks everyone is a captain. I have seen him, I have played under him when we won the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. I have seen how he gives confidence to young players like Shardul (Thakur), Washington Sundar and (Yuzvendra) Chahal," he added.
The most successful captain in Indian T20 League history, Rohit has led Mumbai to a record four titles and is only behind Dhoni when it comes to win percentage for skippers with more than 100 games in the tournament.
On the international stage, Rohit has captained India in the absence of Viral Kohli and led them to wins at the Nidahas Trophy and the Asia Cup in 2018. The second-ranked batsman as per ICC’s ODI rankings, Rohit has captained the Men in Blue in 10 ODIs and 19 T20Is, winning eight and 15 of them respectively.
"Around him, players enjoy the intensity, they enjoy his aura. When you enjoy the aura of a player, you like to be positive and I think that is what he is good at. MS Dhoni was brilliant. He [Rohit] has won more [Indian T20 League] trophies than MS, but they both are very similar,” Raina opined.
He continued, “Both of them, as captains, like to listen. When your captain is listening, you can solve a lot of problems, you can solve the mental aspects of the players. So, in my book, they both are wonderful.”
Raina isn’t the first player who has played under both Rohit and Dhoni to make this observation. Earlier this month, Indian leg-spinner Karn Sharma was another individual who highlighted the similarities between the two in an Instagram live show called Say Yash to Sports.
"Rohit and MS Dhoni are quite similar as captains. I think Rohit has learned a lot from MS since he has played for so many years under him. Both bring in calmness and give complete freedom to their bowlers for setting their own field. Only if it doesn't work out, they will come up with another plan," Karn said.
Rohit and Dhoni are expected to be back in action soon with the Indian T20 League slated to begin from September. Both of them will be raring to return to the field and take their respective teams to yet another final after Rohit’s Mumbai got the better of Dhoni’s Chennai in the 2019 finale.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam