David Warner believes MS Dhoni is much like his former captain Ricky Ponting when it comes to enjoying the company of younger teammates. The Australian opener added that the wicketkeeper-batsman is good enough to carry on for a couple more years.
Dhoni went through a tough phase in 2016 as he managed just 278 runs in 13 matches at 27.80. There was pressure mounting on the 36-year-old as his contemporaries in Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina were axed from the squad due to fitness issues.
Dhoni, however, came back strong in 2017 after having worked on his game and fitness. The World Cup-winning India captain looks fitter than ever and it has helped him with the bat as well. In stark contrast to his form in 2016, the wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 632 runs in 20 innings at a staggering average of 79 this year.
The Ranchi dasher also relieved himself of captaincy earlier this year and the move has worked well in his favour. With backing from captain Virat Kohli, Dhoni has been able to perform without pressure.
The results were there to see as the former captain played crucial knocks during India's 5-0 win in Sri Lanka and also in the first of the ongoing five-match ODI series against Australia in Chennai on September 17.
The emergence of a pinch-hitter in Hardik Pandya has also helped Dhoni's cause. The latter was even seen helping out the Baroda all-rounder in Chennai.
"He [Dhoni] is loving being a part of this young, energetic group. That was the same with Ricky [Ponting] when I came into the Test setup. You could just see these guys, a new life is just born for them. It's great and I like seeing it," Warner told India Today on Friday, September 22, a day after India crushed Australia by 50 runs in the second ODI.
Warner added: "He is a world class player and if the player feels he is not going the way he would have liked, I'm sure they would have upon themselves to step down. I think he is hitting the ball well and it looks like he is tinkering with his technique as well. I personally think, he can go another two years."
'Dhoni is nurturing Kohli'
Warner also believes Dhoni's on-field inputs is helping Kohli become a better captain. A lot is being said about how the former has been guiding the latter with decision-making skills in the limited-overs format of the game.
Kohli has often been spotted walking up to his wicketkeeper for suggestions, that has, more often than not, worked in the team's favour. Dhoni has also continued being vocal behind the stumps and is playing a key role in guiding the young wrist-spinners in the team.
"MS Dhoni brought a sense of calmness to his captaincy. He did a great job as captain and he is still doing a great job, nurturing Virat and that is a great thing to do for a former captain," Warner said.