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‘A cricketer like MS Dhoni comes once in a life-time, never write him off’

MS Dhoni, who failed to take his Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rising Pune Supergiant over the line against Mumbai Indians in the 2017 final, is still the best finisher in the game, according to ex-national selector Vikram Rathour.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 22, 2017 20:16 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Champions Trophy 2017,IPL 2017,MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni failed to guide Rising Pune Supergiant to a win against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 final.(AFP)

A million hearts were shattered when MS Dhoni fell for 10 during Rising Pune Supergiant’s chase against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 final.

His team was defeated and Dhoni lost out on yet another opportunity to close down a game with his batting. However, if former national selector Vikram Rathour is to be believed, he is still the best finisher of the game.

Read | IPL 2017 final, Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians: MI clinch record third IPL title

“A player like Dhoni comes once in a lifetime. He made a big impact not only with his captaincy but also with his tremendous batting skills in the middle-order. You cannot dismiss Dhoni so easily. His role as a finisher will be very crucial in the Champions Trophy,” said Rathour.

Read | No Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh in Ajit Agarkar’s all-time IPL XI

“The way he paces his innings and runs between the wickets changes the complexion of the tricky match situations in India’s favour.”

Kumble has a role to play

The former cricketer, who has played six Tests and seven ODIs for India from 1996 to 1997, praised the MSK-Prasad led Selection Committee Panel for selecting the best possible team for Champions Trophy.

“The selectors have done a good job by announcing a well-balanced team. I know Rishabh Pant’s name was doing the rounds for selection. He is immensely talented but he needs more exposure before getting into the national team. He can wait and get into the team with better preparation. Moreover, Dinesh Karthik was a superb replacement for injured Manish Pandey,” added Rathour, who had coached the Punjab senior team in the Ranji Trophy in 2011-2012 season and then was appointed as the national selector from North Zone.

Read | MS Dhoni’s lungi dance video surfaces ahead of Pune vs Mumbai IPL final

“Do not assume that players who have not done well in IPL won’t deliver in Champions Trophy too. For example, Virat Kohli is a cricketer of a different pedigree. He might have failed in IPL.

“He knows how to get back to the positive frame of mind and get that confidence back with just one good knock. He is phenomenal. When the Indian team re-groups for Champions Trophy, they will be in a different mind-set. With a legend like Anil Kumble as coach, Indians can only go up from here. Watch out for Kohli with Kumble by his side,” shared Rathour.

Returns as a coach

In order to give more finishing to his coaching abilities, Rathour went to Hong Kong to pursue a Level-III Cricket Australia backed coaching certificate after completing his term as a selector.

After having worked with the Andhra Cricket Association as a coach a few months back, Rathour is taking a U-16 Zonal Cricket Academy (ZCA) camp in Mohali along with former Indian fast bowler Harvinder Singh.

Read | IPL 2017 final: Team work was integral to Mumbai Indians’ success, says Rohit Sharma

“Coaching has always interested me. It is my calling. It is wonderful to interact with both the young and experienced cricketers and work with them. I hope the existing Committee of Administrators (CoA) vs Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) issue ends soon and cricket takes the centre-stage. The state units are suffering the most,” Rathour, who lived in England for seven years and made a return to India in 2010 said. He has played for Punjab as well as Himachal Pradesh in first-class cricket.

Rathour also slammed Lodha Committee’s recommendation of having just three national selectors instead of five.

“India is a big country. Even five selectors were not able to cover all the matches and the states during domestic season. A fast bowler from Assam had been very impressive in one season but we came to know about him quite late. We could not see much of him. How can three selectors cover whole India?” questioned Rathour.

First Published: May 22, 2017 20:14 IST

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