Published On: Tue, Dec 26th, 2017

Look in the mirror, Shastri tells Dhoni critics

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANew Delhi-Fitter and faster than players 10 years his junior, MS Dhoni is irreplaceable in the Indian ODI team right now, says India coach Ravi Shastri. The former India all-rounder, while backing Dhoni, advised former players finding fault with Dhoni that perhaps they should analyse their own careers before making comments about Dhoni.Dhoni’s form with the bat has been heavily scrutinised in the recent past, with every failure seen as an ominous sign. “We are not stupid. I’ve 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, Dhoni can beat players aged 26. People who talk forget that (how) they played the game,” said Shastri.
“They need to look in the mirror and ask themselves, ‘what were they like at 36’? Would they have run faster than Dhoni? By the time they would have finished two, this guy will run three. Then he has won two World Cups and averages 51. Till today, you don’t have a wicketkeeper to replace him in the ODI team.”
Shastri said Dhoni’s skill set was not easy to replace and it would be long before a replacement came along. “He is still one of the best around, not only in 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,” he said.
Shastri also spoke about the upcoming tour of South Africa, starting on January 5. “We haven’t won a series in South Africa,” he said. “And therein lies a massive opportunity for the team to do something special. The belief is there. We will treat South Africa like any other opposition, there will be respect but we will go there to win.”
Shastri also heaped praise on current skipper Virat Kohli, who took a break from the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. “The great thing about Virat is his work ethic, his realisation of what kind of player he can become and what it takes to become that player.”
The Indian team is signing off the year with 37 wins across all formats. Shastri said it had a lot to do with a cohesive dressing room. “The most important thing about this team is that it’s not about individuals. The word ‘I’ can be thrown out of the window. It is always ‘we’. And that’s the difference with this team,” said the coach. — PTI

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