New Delhi: "Please leave the gentleman alone," former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said of MS Dhoni, insisting that the veteran's value to the team cannot be calculated despite the lack of consistency.
Dhoni turned back the clock with a match-winning half century against Australia in the second one-dayer in Adelaide, even hitting one of those trademark last-over sixes. The well-timed knock eased the pressure he has been under under due to inconsistent form.
"My prayer is to please leave the gentleman alone and he will continue to do well. He is also not getting younger. So the consistency you might have at a younger age will obviously not be there and you have to bear with that," Gavaskar told India Today.
The 37-year-old two-time World Cup winning former captain's future is one of the most debated topics in Indian cricket right now but Gavaskar feels he deserves better.
"Bear with that little inconsistency. But he's still tremendous value to the team... That value you cannot calculate at all," the batting great said.
Elaborating on what he thought makes Dhoni a crucial cog, Gavaskar said the veteran stumper's reading of the game and match situations is impeccable from behind the stumps.
"He keeps telling the bowlers to bowl a particular delivery, what a batsman is planning to do. He has a sense of what a batsman is thinking...What the batsman is looking to do now...is he looking to get out of jail kind of shot?" he said.
"These are the kind of things where Dhoni helps the bowlers and of course with the field placing because Virat is so important in the deep (as he fields outside 30-yard circle) in the final overs when he saves those two runs diving around, takes magnificent catches in the deep," he added.
Gavaskar also spoke about the trust that current skipper Virat Kohli has Dhoni's assessment of situations.
"...it's not possible for Virat to maybe have a conversation with the bowlers or to make adjustments to the square fielders. That is where Virat has complete faith and trust in Dhoni to make those little bit of adjustments for him," Gavaskar said.
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Dhoni was last month brought in as mentor of India's 15-member T20 World Cup squad by the BCCI, a move that took everyone by surprise.