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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

MS Dhoni is a great, nobody is good enough to criticise him: Ravi Shastri

India chief coach Ravi Shastri has revealed that while the team might look to play Virat Kohli at No.4 in the World Cup, MS Dhoni is once in a generation cricketer whose boots will be tough to fill.

cricket Updated: Feb 06, 2019 12:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of MS Dhoni.
File image of MS Dhoni.(AP)

Former India skipper Rahul Dravid recently called India one of the favourites to win the 2019 World Cup and with the showpiece event round the corner, two players who will once again hold fort as India look to repose the faith of the fans and pundits will be skipper Virat Kohli and former skipper MS Dhoni. Speaking to Cricbuzz, chief coach Shastri has revealed that while the team might look to play Kohli at No.4 in English conditions, Dhoni is once in a generation cricketer whose boots will be tough to fill.

“He is still a great batsman, and is finishing matches for us. You saw in Adelaide, and he has been in terrific form this year. He may not be Dhoni of 2008 or 2011. But experience is not bought or sold in the market.

“And why just batting, you saw the run-out of James Neesham on Sunday. That was Dhoni at his very best, like a con artist. He was not even looking at the ball, and the run-out was done in a flash, and it changed the course of that game. He is superb with the gloves, and from behind the stumps he really guides the wrist spinners because he understands all the fielding angles from inside the circle much better than the others,” Shastri said.

Asked about the recent criticism that Dhoni has come under, Shastri made it clear that nobody is good enough to criticise the former India skipper.

“Nobody is good enough to criticise MS Dhoni. If you talk about him, do you even know anything about cricket? Dhoni is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years. He is an ornament to the game. He has been the captain of a number one Test team, and has two World Cups to his name.

“In fact, tell me which trophy has he not won? Name it. There is no space in his trophy cabinet. I think people should learn a thing or two about cricket before they start talking about Dhoni. You don’t get a guy (of his experience and ability) overnight,” he clarified.

While everyone though that India’s top-three was fixed with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan at the top and Kohli coming in at No.3, Shastri decided to bowl a googly.

“The good thing about this Indian top-three is we can separate them, if conditions and situations demand. Someone like Virat Kohli can go to number four, and we can put a good number three to bring more balance to the batting line-up. That’s flexibility for you, and for big tournaments like the World Cup, you have to be flexible to see what’s the best balance for the side. So we will decide that (accordingly in England),” he said.

Asked if that means protecting Kohli against the new ball in English conditions, Shastri said: “Yes, maybe Rayudu, or someone else, could bat at number three, and Kohli comes in at number four. We wouldn’t want to disturb the opening combination. Separating the top-three could make the batting stronger.

“But we will assess that on seeing conditions there in England. You don’t want to be 18-3 or 16-4 in a big tournament. I don’t care about bilateral ODIs, but why should I lose my best batsman early in a World Cup match (if the conditions are bowler friendly)?” he enquired.

First Published: Feb 06, 2019 12:26 IST

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