Ravi Shastri, former Team India Director, said that MS Dhoni is still fit enough to play in all three formats of cricket and even today can easily secure a place in the Test team.
Speaking to Ayaz Memon, aka Cricketwallah on Firstpost Gameplan during his first video interview in almost 15 years, Shastri said that he believes Dhoni is one of the sport's greatest players. "MS Dhoni is a champion. He is very measured, he is very composed — just like you see him on the field. He is an absolute legend," Shastri said.
"The day he hangs up his boots, you will realize, after a while, how big a player he was."
Shastri, who was the Team Director for the last 18 months, described Dhoni's modest way of working.
"He goes about his job in a very unassuming manner. That's why you don't notice it. If you go down history, he's been around for 10-12 years now. He's won literally every competition there is to win. What else do you want from an individual? He has carried the Indian flag outstandingly well. He is a great ambassador for the game, not just for India," Shastri stated.
In December 2014, Dhoni retired from Test cricket suddenly following the drawn Test against Australia in Melbourne. India had lost the four-match series 2-0. He had cited "the strain of playing all formats of cricket" as his reason.
His retirement had taken the cricketing world by surprise. Players and the coaching staff later said that they had no idea about Dhoni's decision. Dhoni is considered as one of India's greatest Test captains, and under his leadership, India became the Number 1 team in the Test rankings.
Shastri said Dhoni's retirement came as a shock for him too. "I was totally surprised. He had us in shock. He just came up and told us about his decision. I still feel he can play all three formats of the game. He is so fit, he is so consistent."
Suresh Raina gave a poignant account, revealing that India's limited-overs captain slept with his Test jersey on the night of his retirement. Virat Kohli, who replaced Dhoni as Test captain, had said that he was in tears after hearing Dhoni's decision to step down.
Dhoni continues to repeatedly display great athleticism every time he takes the field. He ran like Bolt to help India beat Bangladesh in a last-ball thriller in the recently-concluded World T20. In the very next match of the Super 10s against Australia, it was his blistering running between the wickets, along with Kohli's sumptuous knock, that powered India to the semi-finals. The limited overs captain is one of the quickest runner between the wickets in the world and watching him waltz on the field is a testament of his tremendous fitness even at the age of 34.
First Published On : Apr 23, 2016 09:24 IST