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Kapil Dev: MS Dhoni ranks amongst best finishers in ODI cricket

Kapil Dev MS Dhoni exchange World Cup trophies
Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev (left) has come out in praise of MS Dhoni (right) © Getty Images

Kuala Lumpur: Mar 25, 2014

Calling Mahendra Singh Dhoni one of the best finishers in limited-overs game, cricket legend Kapil Dev on Tuesday backed the Indian captain to continue leading the team in all three formats and said there should not be any question about his replacement.

The 55-year-old Kapil, who is one of the ambassadors for the 15th Laureus World Sports Awards, said Dhoni is the ideal man to lead the team in upcoming Test series and defend the crown when the 2015 ODI World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand.

“If Dhoni is fit enough there should be no doubt because he is one of the finest batsmen we have and coming in at number 6-7 and averaging more than 50, why should we have any doubts. Somebody who has won us the World Cup, the T20 World Cup… why do we even talk about it and bring doubts in people’s mind,” Kapil said.

Though the team has posted two convincing wins in the ongoing ICC World T20 in Bangladesh, Dhoni’s captaincy was under the scanner not long ago, after series loses in South Africa and New Zealand.

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell had suggested that Virat Kohli be given the Test captaincy.

Asked about that option, Kapil said Kohli should not be rushed into a skipper’s role.

“The only thing is when you have such a senior captain it will only lead to confusion in the team if you make Kohli captain and Dhoni playing under him. It’s not fair. He will get his chance why should we push him, when the time comes he will be there. Dhoni is a mature captain so let him do the job, the day he retires then management will see.”

When asked about England batsman Kevin Pietersen‘s sudden retirement from international cricket, Kapil said nobody is above the team.

“He was also given opportunity. He is a talented and strong player, but it is up to the individual to manage himself within the team. You can’t be above the team, you have to be a part of the team,” Kapil said.

Talking about Pietersen, former Australian captain Steve Waugh, who is also one of the cricketer ambassadors alongside Kapil and England great Ian Botham, said he was not surprised with the move, especially in the light of the temperamental batsman’s run-ins with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and fellow players.

“I was not surprised by the decision, I think it was right time. I think he had had enough. What he did when [Andrew] Strauss was captain was enough really, for most players would have never played again. But he was given some extra leeway to get back into the team.

“I think when you are the best players in the world you can probably get away with some things like what he did but he is no longer in top-10 batsmen in the world and he ran out of all his chances. He had to prove that he wanted to play for England but he didn’t quite do that. And people may have felt sick. I think his time is gone.

“But he was a great player and will be missed. I think he has fulfilled his potential, he won more games for England than anyone else in the last 10 years, did amazing things for England.”

Talking about the Australia’s resurgence, he said, “We always had the talent, it’s just a matter of starting to believe again. Who would have thought England are to be where they are right right now. Australia has got a good system, good talent identification programmes.

He expects Mitchell Johnson, Steven Smith and David Warner to be at the peak of their careers during next year’s ODI World Cup at home.

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