Ravi Shastri salutes Dhoni - the 'Dada Captain'

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Ravi Shastri salutes Dhoni - the 'Dada Captain'

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SportsCafe Desk

01/08/2017

Former Indian team director Ravi Shastri has paid a tribute to MS Dhoni saying that none of the other Indian captains come close to his achievements. While Shastri admitted that he was suprised when Dhoni quit Test cricket, his decision to step down from limited-overs' captaincy was expected.

“My salaam to a dada captain,” ace commentator Ravi Shastri told Wisden India in an exclusive after MS Dhoni decided to relinquish his ODI and T20 captaincy four days ago. 

Shastri, who was in the role of the Indian team's director when Dhoni announced his Test retirement on December 30, 2014, said that there was stunned silence in the dressing room when the Indian skipper announced his decision.

“There was absolutely no chance of negotiation, not a chance. He didn’t come to discuss the matter, he just came out and told us of his decision. That came as a huge surprise, of course. But this decision to quit from the captaincy of the one-day and Twenty20 sides, this doesn’t surprise me one bit,” Shastri remembered.

However, the former all-rounder is not surprised with Dhoni's latest decision to relinquish limited overs' captaincy since he knows that Dhoni has no interest in chasing power.

“The reason I say I am not surprised at this decision is that he is not someone who will chase the seat. He is the kind of guy who will play on his own terms, and this is what his terms are.

“He has obviously given it a lot of thought, though I must admit it must have been a tough decision to make. He has been the captain for so long, it wouldn’t have been easy to make the call that enough was enough. But then again, MS knows that the man in waiting is ready, like he must have felt in Australia when he not just quit the Test captaincy but Test cricket itself. This is a very sensible and wise decision,” he added.

The 54-year old also said that only Kapil Dev comes the closest to Dhoni accomplishments as India's best captain while choosing to leave out Sourav Ganguly out of his top-four Indian captains' list.

“MS has won everything there is to win, he really has nothing to prove. Again, the reason I say he has nothing to prove is that he is easily India’s most successful captain, by a distance. There is no one even close to him in that regard. 

“The names that follow in that list a fair distance behind are Kapil Dev, who led India to the World Cup title in 1983 and because of whom we won the Test series in England in 1986. And Ajit (Wadekar) in an era before there was one-day cricket, when we won successive Test series in the West Indies and then England in 1971. And of course, Tiger (Pataudi) for flamboyance. Baaki koi nahi [there is no one else],” Shastri said.

The former cricketer also suggested at a prospect of Dhoni opening the innings in T20s now that he has freedom to bat anywhere in the batting order.

“And, given all that he has done for all these years, he deserves to enjoy himself. The responsibility of finishing or whatever can be given to someone else. Virat can use him anywhere in the order, which is brilliant. He can even use him at the top of the order, and when I say top of the order, he could even use him as an opener in 20-over cricket. I think that will be brilliant,” he said.

When asked if Virat Kohli is capable of captaining India across all three formats, Shastri replied, “Absolutely. Though the one-day and T20 games will be a learning curve because you need much quicker decision-making skills than in Tests. But he is ready, of course.”

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