Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri came out in support of former captain MS Dhoni, describing him as the 'ultimate team man'. Shastri's defense of Dhoni comes after captain Virat Kohli echoed a similar sentiment after India's 2-1 T20I series win over New Zealand earlier in the week. Shastri said some 'jealous' people wished to see the end of Dhoni's international career.
"Looks like there are a lot of jealous people around, who just want Dhoni to have a couple of bad days.... There are a few people who are waiting to see the end of MS Dhoni. But great players like him decide their own future," Shastri said.
After India's triumph over the Kiwis, former cricketers like VVS Laxman, Ajit Agarkar and Aakash Chopra felt the team management needed to try out younger players in place of Dhoni in the T20 format.
Shastri said the Indian team knew well aware of Dhoni's worth and the criticism against the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman made no difference to them.
"It (the criticism) doesn't make a difference to me. In our mind we know where Dhoni stands within the team. He is an ultimate team man. He was a great leader and now an ultimate team man."
In a dig at some former cricketers and experts who have been critical of Dhoni of late and suggested he be dropped from the T20 side, he said: "Not so long ago I used to do television and people used to ask me questions. You need to answer questions to make a show happen.
"Dhoni is a superstar. He is one of our greatest cricketers. So he is always going to be a great topic. He is always going to be a topic because he is a legend. When you have a career as glorious as that, you become a topic on television."
Shastri pointed out that Dhoni, who has retired from Test cricket, has averaged over 65 in One Day Internationals over the last one year and helped India win matches during the series against Sri Lanka and Australia recently.
(With inputs from IANS)