Ravi Shastri has heaped praise on MS Dhoni after his performance against Sri Lanka as he stated that at the age of 36, the wicket-keeper can beat players who are ten years younger than him. He has also stated that Team India have a good opportunity to do something special in South Africa tour.
Ahead of the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, critics had questioned Dhoni’s form and his place in the team. Even some hinted that he should hang up his boots from international cricket but the wicketkeeper-batsman replied in his own style. Earlier the former Indian skipper found support in the form of Virat Kohli and Shastri. Once again, the India head coach came out in the support of Dhoni and seemed really impressed with the performance of the Jharkhand player.
“We are not stupid. I have been watching this sport for the last 30-40 years. Virat has been a part of this team for a decade now. We know, at this age, he (Dhoni) can beat players aged 26. People who talk, forget that they played the game,” Shastri said as quoted by PTI.
Earlier, MSK Prasad, the chief selector of Indian cricket team, has hinted that Dhoni will be in 2019 World Cup squad as there is no other wicket-keeper who is performing better than him. Now, Shastri also slammed Dhoni’s critics and claimed that no-one can replace him as a wicket-keeper.
“If they look at themselves in the mirror and ask the question, ‘what they were at the age of 36?’ Would they have run two runs faster? But the time they finish two, this guy will run three. Then he has won only two World Cups and averages only 51.
In the first ODI in Dharamsala, he played a knock of 65 runs to take the team to a respectable situation, but unfortunately, India failed to win the match. He played the three T20I matches in which he scored 39*, 28, and 16* respectively and also showed his terrific skills with gloves. The 55-year-old emphasized that Dhoni's experience is unmatched and will help the team in many ways.
“He is still one of the best around, not only in the Indian team but in the world. Some of the things you see with him are not sold in the market. You will not get it anywhere else.”
“The fact that he does not play Test cricket means he should be playing as much cricket as possible till the World Cup in 2019,” he added.
After winning the series against Sri Lanka, now Team India will visit South Africa and the three-match Test series will start from January 5. India
“For us, all opposition is the same, all oppositions have to be respected and every game is a home match. And as it turned out that next, we are in South Africa. Where South Africa is different is that we haven’t won a series in South Africa,” he said.
“Therein lies a massive opportunity for the team to do something special. The belief is there. We are going there and we will treat South Africa like we treat any other
Virat Kohli has led the team by example – starting with scoring runs at will to making fitness as a prime regime in the team to playing the game on the edge - with passion and his not-giving-an-inch attitude. His passion has rubbed on the team as well and results have come pouring in, with India’s nine consecutive Test series
“The great thing about Virat is his work ethic, his realisation of what kind of player he can become and what he it takes to become that player... And it has become part of his lifestyle.
“What happens is, that when you have a captain in that frame of mind, wanting to achieve things others can only dream of. Then it rubs off on other players. Others want to emulate him. He wants to raise the bar for himself and he doesn’t want any room for excuses,” said Shastri.
This year, Indian cricket team won 37 matches across all formats and according to Shastri it become possible just because the bonding of the player who represents them as a team instead of an individual.
“The most important thing about the team is that this is a team and not an individual. The word ‘I’ can be thrown out of the window. It is always we. Individuals can stay at home if they are not part of the team culture. No matter how big the individual. That is the difference with this team,” he said.
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