Dhoni Not a Captain Who Tells You What to Do, Rohit Always Thinks Wickets: Harbhajan

·3-min read

MS Dhoni is not a captain who will tell his players what to do unless they are short of ideas themselves, according to Harbhajan Singh.

The offspinner, who has played under Dhoni for India and Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, said Dhoni leads by allowing the bowlers to form their own plans and interferes only when they're struggling for options.

"He is not a captain who says, do this, do that. He wants you to do what you know you can do. Bowl what you know you can. If you can bowl six offspinners, do that. Yes, he has nudged me at times - from behind the stumps or at change of overs - saying, this guy is trying to do this or will try this. But he never tells me what to do," Harbhajan told The Cricket Monthly.

"Once Shardul Thakur was bowling in Pune (for CSK). He was getting hit every ball. First ball four, second ball six. I went to Dhoni and told him, "Why don't you tell him [Thakur] to change the angle or push a fielder back?" As if he had all the time in the world, Dhoni said to me, "Bhajju pa, if I tell him anything now, he will get confused. Khaane do (Let him get hit)"

"He knew we could afford to get hit because we had already qualified for the playoffs. He said, "When he feels there is no option left, then I can tell him he could try doing this." So Dhoni will not tell you until you realise you are short of ideas."

When asked about Rohit Sharma's captaincy style, Harbhajan said the Mumbai Indians skipper is someone who 'thinks wickets at all times'.

"Rohit also gives a lot of freedom to the bowlers but thinks wickets at all times. He will not interfere with your bowling. If you want an attacking field, he will give it. It is not compulsory that if a left-hander comes, you get a slip whether the balls spins or not. Then at times we have had a short leg and two slips," Harbhajan explained.

The offspinner stressed that captains have an important role to play in T20s, saying the freedom they give to the bowlers often dictates results.

"Yes, they do play a role. How much freedom he gives you to express yourself, do what you want to do, because in the end you are in charge of your own bowling," he said.

"Last IPL, in a match against Kings XI (Punjab), it was tight. Deepak Chahar was told: if you can do this, do it. Chahar said he would bowl as per the plan. Then he goes to his bowling mark and bowls something else. Next ball, the same thing happens. Then Dhoni goes to him. Next few balls Chahar bowls what Dhoni asked him to bowl. And the results were totally opposite: first two balls, eight runs. Rest of the over, two runs and a wicket."