Shastri backs Dhoni to be the ‘big player’ in World Cup 2019

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s footwork and batting skills in the IPL impressed India head coach Ravi Shastri.

India head coach Ravi Shastri (left) and captain Virat Kohli address the media in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  AFP

India’s head coach Ravi Shastri feels that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play a huge role in India’s bid to clinch the World Cup which begins in the UK next week.

Talking to scribes ahead of the team’s departure, Shastri said that Dhoni’s role will be “massive as it has always been”.

“He is right there. His communication has been fantastic. As a keeper, he has shown over the years that no one is better than him in this format, not just in taking catches, inflicting those run outs or stumping, these are little moments in the game which can change it on the head and there was no one better than him,” he reasoned.

This will be the fourth World Cup appearance for Dhoni, who guided India to its last World Cup victory in 2011. In the just concluded Indian Premier League, he scored 416 runs at an average of 83.20 and guided Chennai Super Kings to the final.

Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni (right).   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI


Shastri admitted that he was impressed with Dhoni’s footwork during the league.

“It is great to see the way he was moving in the IPL especially when he was batting, the footwork, the power with which he was hitting the shots, he will be a big player in this World Cup,” Shastri said.

The head coach was also asked about the team’s strategy when it takes on Pakistan on June 16. “In World Cup, it’s not about preparing and playing against one team. Like Virat [Kohli] said, it’s about maintaining the consistency and intensity throughout the tournament. And it’s not about one opposition,” the coach added.

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