Michael Hussey thinks MS Dhoni is the greatest finisher of all time. Having shared a dressing room with the former India captain for seven years across two IPL stints, Hussey also believed Dhoni's instincts and mental toughness at his peak made opposition captains blink first under pressure.
"In my mind, he is the best finisher of all time," Hussey told Sanjay Manjrekar in ESPNcricinfo's Videocast programme. "That is maybe a little controversial, because there have been some great finishers over time, but he had the mental capability of knowing what the opposition would try to do, and then stay cool and calm in that high pressure situation. He'd be cooler than the opposition, he'd make the opposition captain blink first by bowling the better bowler in the second-last over.
"The other thing he has that not many other finishers have is unbelievable power. He knows when he needs to clear the ropes, and he can do it. I didn't have that kind of belief in myself. Dhoni….his mental capability, coolness and power, he knew he could find a six when he needed it and he did it so consistently. I think his confidence grew in his methods, so in my mind he is the best."
Hussey also gave an insight into Dhoni's mind and his philosophy of "taking it till the end" in run chases.
"I tried not to let the asking rate get to 12-13 an over," Hussey responded when asked about his approach to big chases. "I probably learnt off MS Dhoni. He was incredible. His big thing was, 'he who panicked last wins the game'. So he would keep his cool and keep it longer, because there's pressure on the bowler as well.
"If you're out in the middle and the bowlers know someone like Dhoni or Michael Bevan's still there, then India, Australia or Chennai Super Kings still have a chance, because the pressure builds on the bowlers too. And that is when the wides, no-balls and loose deliveries come, which you can hit for a four. So if you can keep your cool longer than the opposition, you will come out on top."
Hussey, who has seen Dhoni evolve, both as an opponent and a close confidante at Super Kings, underlined his self-belief and the ability to take emotions out of every situation as key to reveling under pressure.
"One of his great ability is he won't take on defeat for too long," Hussey explained. "Yes, he'll be disappointed like everyone, but he will get over quickly and look over to the next match, and that is a great trait to have.
"Ricky Ponting was similar too, whether he was going well or going poorly. A consistent character, and not someone like a yo-yo, going up and down, riding emotions all the time. He'd be level the whole time, a trait you notice in great players."