Playing with MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings was a huge learning curve and the aim is to incorporate the calm approach and the self-belief that the CSK captain has into my own game, South Africa all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius said ahead of the upcoming 5-match T20I series against India.
Pretorius, who is part of the visiting South Africa squad that has been training in New Delhi, said his biggest learning from MS Dhoni was the calmness with which the former India captain handled different situations on the field, especially when pulling off chases.
Dwaine Pretorius made his Indian Premier League debut for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2022. The South Africa all-rounder played only 6 matches but he got the opportunity to share the crease with MS Dhoni on a couple of occastions. In fact, Dhoni and Pretorius were involved in a match-winning partnership as CSK pulled off a successful chase of 157 against Mumbai Indians in April.
“He doesn’t get too excited. He doesn’t get too down on himself. Anything is always possible. He’s very optimistic. He believes he can do anything. I’m going to try and bring that into my game – the calmness but also the self-belief that, from any position, any game can be won,” Pretorius told the press in New Delhi which will host the first T20I on Thursday.
“He made me realise that, at the death, the batter isn’t under more pressure. It’s actually the bowler who is under more pressure. You can still lose the match if you have to defend 18 off the last three balls, and as a batter you can actually win it. It was a fresh mindset.”
LEADING T20 ALL-ROUNDER
Furthermore, Pretorius said the mood in the Chennai Super Kings dressing room was upbeat even as the 4-time champions failed to qualify for the playoffs in IPL 2022. It was only the 2nd time in their history after 2020 that CSK failed to finish in the top 4. With just 4 wins in 14 matches, CSK finished 9th in the 10-team points table.
“What’s nice about the CSK team and franchise set-up is that it is very experienced. We all understand that cricket doesn’t always go your way. It’s important to take the positives out of a bad season and try and build for a stronger future; trying to make sure that a bad season is not a complete loss,” he added.
Pretorius, who has played 22 T20Is and picked up 23 wickets and struck at over 160, said the experience of playing against a high-quality team like India will give him the confidence to become one a valuable all-rounder in the shortest format of the game.
“You test yourself as a player against some of the best T20 players of the world. Personally, I want to push myself and make a good impact for the team. From a personal note, I want to win the series going into the World Cup,” he added.
“I want to establish myself as a leading T20 all-rounder in this series going into the T20 World Cup.”