Sydney: He might have copped a lot of criticism for his uninspiring leadership in overseas Tests but Mahendra Singh Dhoni has got a supporter in Michael Clarke who said the wicket-keeper batsman has done a "wonderful job" as India captain.
Clarke, who had to relinquish captaincy job due to a chronic injury during the ongoing series against India, said he was amazed at how Dhoni held the the captaincy while playing all three forms of the game.
"I cannot imagine there would be many jobs in international sport tougher than being the captain of India's cricket team. I doubt many have dealt with the expectation, scrutiny, pressure and extreme adoration better than MS Dhoni," Clarke said.
"How Dhoni has managed to hold down the captaincy while playing all three forms of the game and wicket-keeping is beyond me. He's done a wonderful job and I think the hole he has left in the Test team will be hard to fill. I wish him all the best for all that lies ahead," he wrote in his column for 'Daily Telegraph'.
The star batsman, who led the Australian team to victory in the first Test in Adelaide before pulling out of the series, said Dhoni's job was made all the more tough by the constant scrutiny from the fans of cricket-mad India.
"From a touring captain's perspective, it's busy enough. There are always thousands of fans gathered outside your hotel, many others lined up along the team bus' routes and a media contingent unlike anything else in world cricket," said the 33-year-old right-handed batsman.
"India's population is almost 1.3 billion. When you're playing over there, it feels like every single one of them is passionately following the cricket. But we get to fly in, fly out. The Indian players have to live it every hour of every day. Popping out to the coffee shop isn't an option for them. Most of their time is spent at home, a hotel, an airport or a cricket ground," he said.
Clarke said he's looking forward to meeting Dhoni here during the fourth and final Test of the series.
"I've had quite a few chats with MS over the years, and nearly all of them have been about motorbikes. I love them, but not quite with the same devotion he does. I'm catching up with him at a Spartan BBQ on Sunday and I'll be riding my Harley there so he can take it for a spin," he said.