Former India captain Kapil Dev came out in defence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the wicketkeeper-batsman receiving some criticism during the ongoing ICC World Cup because of his relatively poor batting strike-rate.

Dhoni has managed 223 runs so far at an average of 44.6 with a strike-rate of 93.3 with one half-century.

“It’s very unfair to criticise Dhoni. It has happened to those who have been rated as all-time greats. They are not going to be 20 all over again,” Kapil was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

“The most important thing is Dhoni is doing good as far as the team is concerned. He may not be meeting the expectations of the public. The biggest problem is we expect so much from our heroes. He is doing a fabulous job for the team and an integral member of the thinktank,” the former India all-rounder added.

Kapil believes that the Indian team needs a calming influence of Dhoni with an aggressive skipper like Virat Kohli in charge.

“With an aggressive Virat (Kohli) as a captain, it’s ideal to have someone with a calming effect like him. His wicketkeeping is good, and as I said, he can’t be as good as he was when he was 20 or 23,” the 60-year-old, who is a guest radio commentator for Channel 2 in England, said.

Kapil, who led India to their first World Cup triumph back in 1983, was impressed by the Indian team’s performance in the tournament after they managed to top the points table in the league stages on their way to a semifinal.

“I feel proud of our team. Things have changed a lot in the last few years and we are a major force in world cricket. It’s great to see a team which is athletic and doing well on the field,” he said.

Kapil, though, felt that one DRS review wasn’t proportional to an encounter as big as a World Cup knockout clash. India lost their only review just one ball into the game, when Kohli’s decision to review a lbw appeal against Martin Guptill of New Zealand went wrong.

“They (the ICC) should consider increasing the number of DRS reviews, especially for the knockouts. Why not two or three? Let it take five more minutes. Having just one DRS review for an important knockout stage is not fair. One run or a wicket can change the game,” Kapil felt.

Kapil, who picked up 434 wickets in 131 Tests, is impressed by India’s fast bowling line-up.

“Not just (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammad) Shami has been excellent throughout the World Cup. A few years ago, no one expected Bumrah to reach this level. With a 10-yard run-up, it’s not easy to clock 145kmph regularly. You need a lot of ability to generate speed. This guy is incredible,” he said.

Asked about Kohli’s captaincy, Kapil said: “As we all know, he is different from Dhoni and very aggressive. Every captain is unique. He has done extremely well in the World Cup.”​

Source –  Cricketnext Staff