MS Dhoni is in the same league as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, says Ravi Shastri

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MS Dhoni is in the same league as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, says Ravi Shastri

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SportsCafe Desk

09/14/2017

Ravi Shastri doesn't mince words while expressing his views about MS Dhoni’s place among the all-time Indian greats stating the Dhoni deserves the same status as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian coach has also stated that the team will need him in the next ODI World Cup in 2019.

Before the recently concluded limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, there were arguments that Dhoni's finishing abilities were on the wane and that he wasn't rotating the strike as well as he used to do in the years gone by. However, the former Indian skipper made a roaring comeback on Lankan soil scoring 162 runs at a strike-rate of 82.23. He also grabbed eye balls with his quick reflexes behind the wicket, becoming the first wicket-keeper in the ODI history to effect 100 stumpings. 

After observing Dhoni’s entire career from close quarters, Ravi Shastri was lavish with his praise and termed him as one of the “all-time greats” that India has ever produced. 

"Where else will you find a legend like M.S. Dhoni? Dhoni is in the same league as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar or Kapil Dev. We have to respect his achievements," Shastri told India TV on Wednesday.

"A player is evaluated on the basis of his current form and fitness and Dhoni has both. If you see his wicket-keeping, he is the best in ODI cricket. His fitness is superb, he batted well in Sri Lanka. And let me tell you, it was just a tralier what you saw in Sri Lanka now wait for the movie."

The former India captain’s resilience was certainly on display as he responded to the team's cause consistently. Among the six century partnerships for India in the Lankan series, three came in the middle order and all three involved Dhoni. One involved a top-order batsman in Rohit Sharma, one a middle-order bat in Manish Pandey and one more with a lower-order member - Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Each of those partnerships happened after the collapse of top order, but Dhoni’s assured presence ensured that whatever little crisis that India found themselves in, were mitigated, which was the result of his unbelievable level of fitness and mental endurance of the Jharkhand player. That certainly supposed to gladden Shastri, who asserted that the team management cannot even think of removing the Jharkhand stalwart considering his current form and fitness. 

"If he continues to play like this, there no question of not having him in the team for the 2019 world cup. You can't even think of a team without Dhoni," he said.

India will play the first ODI of the five-match series in Chennai on September 17 and it will not be that easy an affair for the Virat Kohli-led side as it was against a depleted Sri Lankan side. However, the Indian head coach believes that the first two matches against Australia are vital and that will decide the fate of the series.

"We have to win the first two matches. These will decide the fate of the series. Australia will get a tough challenge. Our bowling attack is strong."

Shastri had words of praise for skipper Virat Kohli, saying, "An aggressive Virat is good for the team. Virat does not like people who do not speak straight. Virat is now fully mature. In cricket, you need to understand your rival team properly, Virat has learnt much and is going to learn more in the next 3-4 years."

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