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'Captain Cool' Dhoni the key for India - Hoggard



As India prepare for their ICC World T20 showdown against Australia, former England international Matthew Hoggard thinks that the influence of "Captain Cool" MS Dhoni will help them prevail and reach the semi-finals.

Dhoni's reputation for staying calm under pressure has been built on seeing both India and Chennai Super Kings over the line in tight finishes, most prominently when he hit a six to win the 2011 World Cup final for India.

In this tournament, he was there at the end when India beat Pakistan and his quick thinking behind the stumps won the day for India against Bangladesh, and those two results have set things up for a virtual quarter-final against Australia.

Looking ahead to the tournament with Betsafe, Hoggard felt that India had everything in their favour.

"India are the tournament hosts, and they know the stadiums inside out," Hoggard began.

"They've got Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 'Captain Cool', who always seems to be able to pull the goods out of the bag at the end of the game when everybody else is losing their heads.

"He's very cool, calm and collected, and finishes the game off."

And although Dhoni has plaeyed his part and expertly kept India in the tournament, Hoggard believes they are far from a one-man team.

"I've got to mention Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, who keeps on scoring runs for fun, you can't leave out Yuvraj Singh - who can forget his six sixes in an over against Stuart Broad?

"Then you've got the bowlers - Ravichandran Ashwin I think will have a fantastic tournament, and India have Ravindra Jadeja to back him up.

"It's hard to overlook India for a place in the final."

Asked to pick his leading batsmen of the tournament, Hoggard went with Kohli and Sharma from India, also picking out a number of other players he felt would impress.

"Talking about leading batsmen of the tournament, you've got to have a look and see which teams you think are going to get through to the semi-finals. In my case I think it's going to be Australia, India, England and South Africa.

"From South Africa, you can't go any further than AB de Villiers, from Australia you've got to look at Finch and Warner, India Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and then from England, Alex Hales or Eoin Morgan.

"For an outside chance, I'd say Kane Williamson from New Zealand and you can never write off Chris Gayle from the West indies."

MS Dhoni in action against Australia

MS Dhoni (left) is key for India, says Matthew Hoggard
©REUTERS / Action Images

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