Kolkata: Thank God, MS Dhoni has not hung up his boots as a cricketer, or else, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar would have staged a dharna outside Dhoni’s house. “If he had quit as a player, then I would have been the first one outside his house, having a dharna asking him to make a comeback. As a player, he is still a destroyer. He changes fortunes of the game in a single over. India needs him as a player very very badly. I am happy that he has decided to stay on as a player,” the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket said to NDTV.
Talking about Dhoni’s contributions to Indian cricket, Gavaskar who has always been vocal in his support for Dhoni said, “Cricketers like MSD come once in a century. He brought a lot of flair and unpredictability in Indian cricket. Team has become positive and attacking under Dhoni. It will be his biggest legacy.”
Dhoni on Wednesday, decided to step down from captaincy in ODIs and T20s making way for Test captain Virat Kohli to take over. Gavaskar is of the view that Dhoni, henceforth will have the freedom to enjoy his game and Kohli should use him up the order in the interest of the team.
“Virat would definitely use him at number four or five because having him further down the order doesn’t make any sense. Yes, he is a finisher but he can play a big innings at four or five and still end up as a finisher. The wicket-keeping will be a lot easier because he will not be thinking about the bowling changes and field placements, which can sometimes distract you,” said Gavaskar, who added that the chemistry between Kohli and Dhoni despite their difference in attitude, would eventually benefit Indian cricket.
“It will certainly help India because MSD’s composure will certainly help Virat. Often in Test cricket there is time to rectify your mistakes but in limited-overs cricket, things happen fast and there is not much time so sometimes you might taken an impulsive decision which is where MSD will come in very handy,” the holder of 34 Test hundreds said.
On Dhoni’s habit of springing up surprises, Gavaskar said, “Even in Australia (when he quit Test cricket), it came as a surprise. One thought that he would complete the series and quit after that and stay on as a player. But he quit Test altogether. Here at least, he is available as a player. So Virat will have the benefits of MSD’s vast experience as a successful ODI and T20 captain. Again MSD’s thinking has purely been for the future of Indian cricket and it is in the hands of Kohli. So he has gracefully made way for that. Therefore we need to compliment MSD for that as well.”
However, Gavaskar left it to Dhoni to decide whether he would continue till the World Cup in 2019. “Clearly, it depends on his desire and form. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be too many options (after Dhoni) available, but cricket is a funny game. When you think there isn’t anybody after Dhoni, somebody comes out of nowhere to take his place. In the meanwhile, let’s just enjoy MSD as he plays out his final few years in India colours,” the Little Master said.
(With inputs from NDTV)