They share a bond that is deep, strong and has withstood turbulent times.
"M.S. Dhoni is the greatest cricketer India has produced so far," said former ICC and BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, talking to Sportstar here on Monday.
"He has accomplished everything. He is a match-winning batsman, an outstanding ‘keeper, a brilliant captain, a sensational leader of men and an inspirational figure. And he has excelled in all formats and in all conditions.” said Mr. Srinivasan.
He added, "He is a destroyer of attacks and can still pull off lightning stumpings and continues to be super quick between wickets."
Srinivasan added, "And he has won for India, the ICC ODI World Cup, the World Twenty20, The Champions Trophy, and fetched India the mace for being the No. 1 Test side in the world. So as an all-round cricketer and a winner, he has no equal in Indian cricket."
Asked whether he was aware of Dhoni’s sudden decision to retire from international cricket on Saturday, Srinivasan replied, "That is between me and him."
Travelling back to Dhoni’s shock decision to quit as Test captain minutes after the Melbourne Test of 2014, Srinivasan said, "You know he had earlier wanted to retire from Tests and I said ‘no.’ And then he again wanted to retire from Tests soon after the Melbourne game and this time I didn’t stop him.”
The former BCCI chief revealed. "Dhoni said ‘Sir, just give me half an hour so that I can inform my team-mates. You see he was just listening to his body, given his workload in Tests."
Queried about Dhoni’s qualities, Srinivasan said, "He is simple, straight-forward, clear-headed, humble, loyal and someone who can lift the entire team around him."
Explaining their mutual relationship, Srinivasan said, "It is one of mutual respect. I gave him freedom, did not interfere in what he did. I just don’t have respect, I have a great deal of affection for Dhoni. For someone who has accomplished so much, he is so humble."
Srinivasan observed, "He made his men believe in themselves at all times. He led by personal example. The manner he finished games encompassed his spirit."
"He is still super fit. He will play on and on for CSK. His bond with the club, its fans and Chennai is unshakable."
Srinivasan concluded, "You know, Dhoni is a good man to ride the river with."
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