After India's six-wicket win against Australia in the first ODI at Hyderabad on Saturday, the man of the match Kedar Jadhav paid glowing tributes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saying the former captain's mere presence in the centre is enough to put pressure on the opposing team.
Jadhav and Dhoni posted an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 141 runs as India recovered from a bad start to successfully chase down a tricky target 267 runs.
In a calculated chase, the duo first steadied the ship then changed gears. Kedar remained unbeaten on 81 off 87 balls, while Dhoni undefeated on 59 off 72 balls.
"Every time I spend time with him, I learn a lot. I can’t put it in words but let’s say when I see Mahi bhai, I feel very confident. That’s the sort of aura where you feel that ‘I will deliver today'. He has that knack of getting best out of every player and that’s what everybody loves about him," Jadhav said.
After reaching 50, Jadhav suddenly changed gears while Dhoni was found suffering from cramps.
Asked if Dhoni’s discomfort made him play more attacking shots, Jadhav said: "Not really. Out of both of us, one had to take the risk. I have batted throughout my career at No 4, so I am more open to playing all the shots.
"Growing up, I’ve always built my batting on playing innovative shots. I feel I have a good chance of converting those innovative shots," Jadhav told reporters at the post-match press conference.
The Maharashtra player feels that Dhoni’s game is more about playing straight and it creates pressure.
"Mahi’s natural game is hitting down the ground. As long as he’s there, the other teams always feel the pressure. Whatever little bit of cramp he was having, I just told him "you stay at the wicket, gives me a lot of confidence". I could play my natural game after 50 because he was at the other end."
Jadhav and Dhoni were in a similar situation in Melbourne during the final game of the series and also had a partnership that sealed it for them.
Asked about the degree of difficulty, he said: "I guess both the games were difficult in their own terms. In Australia, that was my first game on Australian soil. It was difficult to adjust to bounce and get into the groove. If I have a MS or Virat at the other end, they will be telling you things like taking the game deep.
"Now these things don’t always strike you and you need somebody to tell you that unless you have played enough international cricket to understand that. How much you practice at the nets, the best thing is learning in the middle."
His side-arm off-breaks have been a trump card for Virat Kohli but he still thinks that he is not ready mentally or physically to regularly bowl full quota of 10 overs.
"I never thought of bowling 10 overs in a game as of now. If the situation demands and the team requires, I can definitely do. But doing consistently, it will take mental adjustment and physically also," he said.
"Since I have not grown up bowling a lot of overs, my body also can’t adjust immediately. I need to have that mental adjustment and physically also I need to get fitter to bowl 10 overs in every game," he said.
He is India’s man with a golden arm as he gets a breakthrough almost in every game.
Asked about the secret, he smiled and replied: "I guess I get lucky. I always keep it stump-to-stump. You will find it difficult. My ball doesn’t bounce that much and it comes from 2-3 angles," he added.
(With PTI inputs)