Former Indian coach, Gary Kirsten has warned against replacing MS Dhoni from ODI captaincy as he believes that he can be a match winner for India during the World Cup 2019.
He was asked a question about naming Virat Kohli as ODI skipper in place of Dhoni, Kirsten said, “You are not going to get an answer out of me. You replace M S Dhoni at your peril, because the one experience I have had is that all great leaders have great performances till the end of their careers.”
“So, if you (are) willing to let M S Dhoni go when there might potentially be a great World Cup performance left in him if he goes to the (2019) World Cup, which I am not sure if he is (taking part in) or not, you take the risk of doing that,” he added.
Kirsten coined Dhoni as a great player and the best leader he has worked with, “I think that is the question I get asked the most every time I come to India. My answer hasn’t changed in three years. That he (Dhoni) is definitely the best leader I have ever worked with. And his record for Indian cricket over the last nine-ten years speaks for itself.”
“There is no debating in my opinion that he is up there with India’s greatest captains and certainly has produced the trophies for India in his time,” added the world cup winning coach of India.
Gary Kirsten further stated that Dhoni’s career figures speak for his excellence.
“You just have to look at his ODI batting record as well, As a finisher, it’s unsurpassed in the world in terms of the position he bats in. So, if anyone is doubting his ability, I think they would be making a great mistake.
“He is a great player and all great players would continue to produce fantastic performances through their career. It’s exciting to see him doing well and having success with the Indian team. I enjoyed working with him and it was a great experience for me,” he added.
Kirsten advised the BCCI and the critiques to let Dhoni decide his future and not impose anything on him. He further talked on his batting order and said that he is very much capable of batting at any number in the line-up as per the need of the situation.
“That discussion is going on for eight years. He does (have) an ODI batting average of over 50. He can bat in lot of different positions,” he stated.
“When I was with the Indian team, I encouraged rotational batting order, where we batted according to the situation rather than this is your batting position today. M S was brilliant at that, he didn’t mind where he batted,” he recalled.
“I always liked him to come in when we needed 100 runs to win because there was no one better (than him) in the world (who) could have won a game from that position, speaking from my experience. But he often liked to get up little bit earlier, so that he can have more time at the wicket and help himself to a hundred. M S Dhoni could pretty much bat anywhere in the batting order,” he praised the great wicketkeeper.