Sunil Gavaskar, the former India captain, has thrown his weight behind MS Dhoni, saying the value the veteran brings to this Indian side cannot be calculated.
Dhoni has faced plenty of scrutiny over his place in the Indian side – his strike-rate isn’t what it once was, and that’s been raised as a contentious issue when India have failed to see chases through.
However, in the second one-day international against Australia, Dhoni turned back the clock, scoring an unbeaten 54-ball 55 to take India home in a tense chase.
Gavaskar said that knock was evidence of his importance to the side. “My prayer is to please leave the gentleman alone and he will continue to do well,” Gavaskar told India Today. “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.
“Bear with that little inconsistency. But he's still tremendous value to the team. That value you cannot calculate at all.”
As good as Dhoni’s batting and wicket-keeping is, Gavaskar said it was his pin-point reading of the game that made him crucial to the side. "He keeps telling the bowlers to bowl a particular delivery, what a batsman is planning to do,” said Gavaskar.
"It was great to watch him bat and finish off an innings."@DineshKarthik on @msdhoni's crucial role in India's last over win against Australia in Adelaide.— ICC (@ICC) January 15, 2019
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“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?”
That makes Dhoni supremely valuable for Kohli, especially in the death overs. “These are the kind of things where Dhoni helps the bowlers, and of course, with the field placing,” said Gavaskar. “Because Virat (Kohli, the India captain) is so important in the deep in the final overs, when he saves those two runs diving around (and) takes magnificent catches in the deep.
“It's not possible for Virat to maybe have a conversation with the bowlers or maybe 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.”
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