Dhoni lauded by Australian peers

Nothing but praise for the India veteran, ahead of ODI series on Australian shores

Australia players have lauded MS Dhoni's decorated international career as the India great prepares to play Down Under for potentially the last time.

The World Cup-winning captain and dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman has been named in India's 16-man squad for the coming three-match Gillette ODI series, which starts on Saturday.

Dhoni is set to be in action at the SCG (January 12), Adelaide Oval (January 15) and MCG (January 18) after he was picked as India's first-choice gloveman, giving fans a golden opportunity to see him in action.

"I think he is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen to ever play the game," Australia Test skipper and fellow wicketkeeper Tim Paine told

"He is right up there, no doubt about that, particularly in white-ball cricket.

"Hopefully he doesn't get too many runs but it's certainly going to be nice to have him here for a little bit. I'm happy I won't be out there against him."

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No one has led their country on more occasions than Dhoni, who has captained India 332 times across the three formats.

As skipper, Dhoni steered India to the No.1 Test ranking in 2009, the 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2007 World T20 title.

While Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar dominate discussion about the best batsman to play for cricket-mad India, Dhoni's status as a champion is not in question given his talent as a wicketkeeper, belligerent batsman and ability to marshal his troops.

The 37-year-old has 16 international centuries to his name and effected more than 800 dismissals behind the stumps.

"What I do love about watching him play, whether he is batting or keeping and captaining, he keeps things very simple," Paine said.

"That's just from what I can see. Cricket is very complicated game and I've enjoyed watching him really simplify it still in this modern age.

"He just looks like he does the basics pretty well, stays real relaxed and – at his age from the pressure he would be under in India and around the world – he looks like he just loves playing cricket."

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Paceman Pat Cummins also cited Dhoni's ability to remain calm under pressure at the top level.

"I think my main memory of Dhoni is just his persona on the field," Cummins said.

"You've seen him winning IPL tournaments, World Cups, Test matches, incredible victories, and he just picks up the stump and walks off (like) nothing happened.

"Winning games from impossible positions and he just seems like the most level, calm captain when he's captaining, just play, nothing seems too big a deal, and just can pull things out of his hat like no one else.

"He's a great ambassador for cricket, being an idol to a billion Indian people back home and he's hugely respected around the world."

Usman Khawaja, who has earned a recall to Australia's ODI squad for the three-match series, played alongside Dhoni in the IPL at Rising Pune Supergiants.

He said he enjoyed playing under Dhoni, pointing to his relaxed approach as a leader.

"He's obviously a legend of a cricketer but he's such a good bloke and so relaxed," Khawaja said.

"I love playing cricket with him and on the same team because I think we're quite similar in the way we play.

"He concentrates on the controllables, doesn't worry about the rest, doesn't let a lot faze him, understands there's a lot of up and downs in cricket and I think he's experienced that throughout his career and the way he plays and the way he goes about it.

"He's one of the guys I really enjoy playing with and he's such a good bloke, so yeah there'll be a big crowd to see him probably one last time in Australia."

ODI skipper Aaron Finch said he hoped the coming series did not mark Dhoni's last trip to Australia.

"I think the way that he's led India under the most extreme cricket scrutiny for a long time has been unbelievable," Finch said.

"I think that he's obviously one of the all-time greats of the game. It will be a sad day if he doesn't come back to Australia after this tour, he's a brilliant entertainer and someone that people pay money to come through the gates to watch."

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Dhoni announced his sudden Test retirement partway through the 2014-15 Australia series, with the MCG Boxing Day match the last of his 90 appearances in the longer format.

He has continued in limited-overs cricket and is set to feature in this year's one-day World Cup in England and Wales, when he will be 38.

Dhoni was a notable omission for India's T20 campaign against Australia that preceded the ongoing Domain Test series, but he will also take part in the ensuing five-match one-day series in New Zealand.

Dhoni made his 50-over debut for India in December 2004.

Gillette ODI Series v India

Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj

First ODI: January 12, SCG (D/N)

Second ODI: January 15, Adelaide Oval (D/N)

Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)