MS Dhoni is Still the Best in the Business: Ravi Shastri.
New Delhi: Going into the series against Sri Lanka, former India skipper MS Dhoni was under pressure to prove his worth after chief selector MSK Prasad said that the World Cup winning captain is no longer an assured name on the team list. But Dhoni proved his worth with match-winning knocks in the ODI series and showed that he is still invaluable to India in a rather inexperienced middle-order.
In fact, he was also brilliant behind the wickets as he completed 100 stumpings and was compared to lightening by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. And now, chief coach Ravi Shastri has said that MSD is still the best in the business.
“Dhoni is still the best wicketkeeper in the world and he is the quickest. The break from Test cricket has been great for Dhoni. He is an asset to the Indian team. He is an elder statesman in the dressing room,” Shastri told India Today.
Shastri had earlier dispelled doubts about Dhoni’s future, stating that the stalwart is not even “half finished yet” and is very much in the scheme of things for the 2019 World Cup in England.
“MS Dhoni is a massive influence on the team. He is a living legend in the dressing room and an ornament to the game. By no means or by any stretch of imagination he is finished or even half finished yet,” Shastri said.
“If anyone thinks so, they are mistaken and they have another one coming. There are in for some surprises. The old dog has plenty to offer,” he said.
Dhoni remains the best wicketkeeper in the country by some distance, said the head coach. “How do you pick players? When they are good, and Dhoni is the best limited-overs keeper in the country. Forget his batting stats, what else do you want. Just because he has played for so many years, you are thinking about a replacement?
“He is the best in the country. Would you look to replace Sunil Gavaskar when he was 36 years old or Sachin Tendulkar when he was 36? Dhoni is still the best in the business, so what is the need to even entertain those thoughts,” he asked.
Shastri also endorsed the selectors’ decision to keep fitness as the primary criterion for selection in this process.
“ODIs are where we will experiment. Winning and losing will not matter so much. Of course, you play to win but we have to try all possible combinations. It is a long way to go until the World Cup and we want to take one series at a time.
“Most of our players have played in this series already, and the endeavour will be to rotate the players giving everyone enough opportunity. So that when we have 12-15 months to go for the World Cup, we have a nucleus of about 18-20 players in place. And we can then choose from this group just before the World Cup begins.
“Obviously form will be important before that too, but the nucleus will be pretty much in place. We want the best fielding side on the park. That’s it. So how do you become the best fielding side on the park? Fitness. And that’s why there have been parameters set.
“My job is not to get involved in selection ever because I want my players to trust me. That’s the job of selectors. They watch more cricket and they see it the year around. If anyone fits into their parameters, depending on their form, then on the cricket field, they are available for selection.”