India’s head coach Ravi Shastri has backed former captain MS Dhoni, on his current form and fitness, to continue till the 2019 World Cup.
“A player is evaluated on the basis of his current form and fitness and Dhoni has both. If you see his wicket-keeping, he is the best in ODI cricket,” said Shastri in an interview with India TV. “His fitness is superb, he batted well in Sri Lanka. And let me tell you, it was just a trailer what you saw in Sri Lanka… now wait for the movie.”
Dhoni was exceptional in the recently concluded Sri Lanka series, scoring 162 runs at a strike-rate of 82.23. Along with the runs, there were some impressive stumpings in the series, proving that his sharpness behind the wickets has not worn off.
“If he continues to play like this, there no question of not having him in the team for the 2019 World Cup. You can’t even think of a team without Dhoni”.
The Test series earlier in the year was a volatile affair, with both sides indulging in a war of words through the four-match period, and the coach stated that his team won’t stand back when and if it comes to a verbal war with the Australians in the limited overs series as well. “If the Australians sledge us, we will not stay quiet. We will also retaliate,” said Shastri, while commenting on the fact that that the rivalry between the two countries was among the biggest in cricket.
The coach also reiterated that the team was playing too much cricket with the top-order, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, all needing periodic off-time to manage their workload.
“I have asked the BCCI to keep more gaps between the series,” said Shastri. “Players should get proper rest as they get mentally tired and it can affect their performance on the field.”