Mumbai: Former India cricketer and current commentator Sanjay Manjrekar on Sunday hit back on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saying that his ability as a game-changer has decreased, and currently relies on other players in the team to win matches.
"He (Dhoni) is not the game changer as often as he was in the past," Manjrekar was quoted writing a column in ESPNcricinfo.
"Earlier, he could tonk four sixes off six balls at will, now he can hit only one. He now has to rely more on others to win games,” he added.
Read: VVS Laxman makes this big statement on MS Dhoni’s T20I career; here's what he said
MS Dhoni’s performance has been heavily criticised by former cricketers, including VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar. However, Team India captain Virat Kohli, coach Ravi Shastri, among some other cricketers, have come in support of Dhoni.
He further went onto compare Dhoni’s performance with that of Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar.
"Kapil bowled at half his pace towards the end of his career, and though his bowling average was an impressive 27.15, his wicket-taking ability had gone down drastically: a mere 26 wickets in his last 24 innings.
“Undoubtedly his career dragged on longer than it should have. Worse it deprived a young and fiery Javagal Srinath the opportunity to be on the big stage when he was ripe.
"Tendulkar averaged 27 in his last 25 Test innings, but let alone questioning his place in the side, even a discussion about his future in the Indian team was sacrilege. Indian cricket is the loser when such things happen. This is a different age and I would have hoped that we had evolved from the Kapil and Tendulkar days,” he argued.
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He also added that the reputation of a particular player should never be a factor in selecting a team.
“Reputation or status of a player should never be a factor in selection. The criteria must be the same for each player.
“Of course, past performance and quality are factors because great players can do special things, but while picking players, I would consider, apart from skills and fitness, how good they are as team players, their potential to contribute consistently, and what they can grow into.
“When it comes to selection, no one has handled iconic players better than Australia,” he further stated.
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The 52-year-old also added that if there is a player who is performing better than Dhoni outside the team, that issue should be discussed and solved.
"If there is someone outside the team showing potential to contribute more than Dhoni does in his current form, it's a matter to be discussed and debated, and without inviting angry and irrational responses. It's healthy for the game and must not be stifled," he commented.
“It's in our DNA in India, isn't it? We do not just make icons of our sporting heroes, we also give them God-like status. But since we already have one God in cricket, Dhoni, I guess, will have to be something else,” he further explained....