Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a "magician" who can turn someone else's "trash into treasure" says the great Matthew Hayden, who also reckons that the former India captain's unmatched contribution to Chennai Super Kings' success story makes his playing future with the franchise "almost irrelevant".
Dhoni's tactical genius has played a big part in CSK reaching their 10th IPL final, after getting past Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1. He did not have the best of bowling attacks at his disposal at the start of IPL 2023 but he has been able to bring the best out of his inexperienced seamers including Tushar Deshpande and Matheesha Pathirana.
How he has used Ajinkya Rahane and Shivam Dube in the batting department has also been praised widely.
Dhoni, who has played with a knee injury throughout the tournament, has given himself 8-9 months to decide on his playing future. Hayden, however, feels the World Cup winning captain will not be around for the next IPL.
"MS is a magician. He takes someone else's trash and makes them treasure. He is a very skilful and positive captain. He said something really interesting which I thought summed up not only his humility and his truth around cricket where he is represented and that is in Tamil Nadu Cricket Association," Hayden said.
"The alignment between that association and the franchise, how strong that is in terms of building that process. To me that is MS. There is a systematic way of going though things and working through them. He did that for India and he is doing it for Chennai Super kings.
"Whether he plays or not next year it is almost irrelevant. Personally I don't think he will but then he is M S Dhoni," he said at an event organised by University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
With the rapid rise of T20 cricket around the world , it has become increasingly difficult for the players to play all three formats.
Hayden thinks not only that makes it impossible for players to commit to all formats, it also questions the future of the game, especially the 50-over version.
"The time of three-format players is shortly coming to an end. I would challenge the game around whether those formats are even viable anymore.
"It seems to me there is great enthusiasm still to play Test cricket and World Test Championship is a good example of that. Otherwise I see lot of T20 cricket being played."
The 51-year-old also said that the players who are giving up national contracts to play franchise cricket around the world can't be blamed.
"It is inevitable that kids of tomorrow they want to play sport, they want to play franchise cricket. We have seen number of players especially from marginalised communities, cricketers from West Indies for example, they are getting very active in other sports and poached to other sports because of their magnificent athletic ability. The great fall from grace from the beautiful sides of the 80s.
"Someone like Nicholas Pooran for example. Has he really got any interest in playing Test match cricket? Before him Dwayne Bravo played bit of Test cricket but mostly played franchise cricket all over the world.
"There are hundreds of example like that. From Australia, someone like David Warner. Is he going to be focussed on Test cricket now or is he going to play remainder of his career (in T20s)?
"It is always going to be challenging where there is enormous amount of money to be made. It is going to be happen and all of it should be embraced," he added.