Sunil Gavaskar: Multifaceted M. S. Dhoni to play a massive role for India at the World Cup

His batting, wicketkeeping, captaincy inputs, and his experience, will be valuable for India at the Cricket World Cup 2019, says the former India captain and batting legend.

That M. S. Dhoni has led India to the World Cup triumph in 2011 will make his presence all the more valuable, says Sunil Gavaskar.   -  K. R. Deepak

M. S. Dhoni’s “massive” role in India’s Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign will not be limited to his instinctive reading of the game, according to former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.

Dhoni, who has been in good form with the bat in the IPL with 358 runs from 11 matches, will be crucial in India’s quest to post defendable totals in the World Cup, believes Gavaskar.

“I think it will be very important because we have a fabulous top-three. But in case the top-three don’t make their usual contribution, then Dhoni’s contribution down the order, whether it’s at No. 4 or 5, will make a big difference in India posting a defendable total,” Gavaskar told PTI here on Thursday.

Gavaskar also spoke highly of Dhoni’s wicketkeeping skills. “We have seen the wicketkeeping skills that he has. But more importantly as somebody who stands close to the wicket, guiding the spinners where to bowl, guiding the other bowlers also where to ball and making those little field adjustments,” he said.

Subtle changes

He added: “[Virat] Kohli, whose brilliant fielding makes it imperative for him to stand in the deep, at long-off [or] long-on, may be, is unable to see those little changes of the backward point fielder moving a little bit to his right or little bit to his left. Similarly [he will be unable to see the] square-leg fielder moving [a bit to the right or left]. So those are the kind of changes Dhoni will be able to bring about with Kohli’s — of course — full backing as well.”

Read | Dhawan optimistic about India's chances in World Cup 2019

That Dhoni has already led India to the 2011 World Cup triumph will make his presence all the more valuable, pointed out Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar: "Dhoní's contribution is going to be massive." File Photo: K. Murali Kumar


“And when you have somebody who’s actually been in a position where he’s taken the stress and taken the team to a win as he did in 2011 [World Cup], that is invaluable in your team. So Dhoni’s contribution is going to be massive,” Gavaskar said.

Gavaskar was speaking after opening the ‘Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani International Centre for Child Care’ in Kharghar, around 40km from Mumbai. He announced he will sponsor 34 life-saving heart surgeries for children from economically and socially-challenged sections of the society.

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