Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to relinquish the captaincy of Indian ODI and T20 teams has attracted varying opinions from all over the cricketing world. Ravi Shastri, the former technical director of the Indian team, poured high praise over Dhoni's tenure as captain, but his compliment also turned out to be a dig at former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Shastri who was involved in a war of words with the Cricket Association of Bengal chief over his non-selection to the post of the India's coach, renewed the row by calling Dhoni a 'dada captain'. Ganguly, who is nicknamed 'dada', is considered by many as the greatest captain India has ever seen, but Shastri chose to exclude him from his list of India's top captains.
"He (Dhoni) has nothing to prove and 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," Shastri told Wisden India in an interview.
The 54-year-old, however, said he wasn't surprised by Dhoni's call to let go off the captaincy and suggested that the man who won India two World Cups isn't someone to run behind the post. Considering Virat Kohli's exploits as a captain in the Test arena, and with the all-important Champion Trophy coming up in June, Shastri felt Dhoni's decision was 'sensible and wise'.
On the other hand, the former Indian all-rounder expressed his pleasure at Dhoni opting to continue playing the limited-overs format of the game. "The way I look at it is that the best thing to have come out is that he is still available to play for the country in ODI and T20 cricket," Shastri said.
"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," the 54-year-old added.
Shastri will be back doing commentary for the upcoming India-England series, and considering his tiff with Ganguly hasn't cooled down, a possible face-off on television in Kolkata for the third ODI could lead to a few fireworks.
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Updated Date: Jan 10, 2017 18:37:01 IST