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PUNE: Kapil Dev on Saturday lent his support to beleaguered MS Dhoni.
The cricket legend, in the city to play in a corporate golf event, said he expected Dhoni to play a vital role in Indian team during the 2020 World T20 despite the fact that the latter would nearing 40 by that time.
Virat Kohli’s passionate defence of MS Dhoni throws up more questions
“I do not understand why so many people are on his back after a couple of average performances. Age definitely doesn’t have anything to do with it. Sachin was 38 when we won the World Cup and nobody was saying anything then,” said Kapil on the sidelines of the Krishnaptnam Port Gold Eagle championships at the Oxford Golf and Country Club course here.
Nobody can affect my relationship with MS Dhoni, says Kohli
Below-par performances in recent T20 internationals have led to calls to drop Dhoni but he has been backed by skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.
Some jealous people waiting to see end of Dhoni’s international career, says Shastri
India’s first World Cup-winning captain believed there was no able replacement lined up for Dhoni as yet. “Even if he is axed from the team, whom will they get,” he wondered.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been restricted to Test cricket of late but Kapil Dev said that was down to the performances of those who have replaced them.
“In the Indian team, there is no such thing as seniority. Performances dictate selection and that is why Kuldeep and Chahal have kept their place in the limited overs side,” he said.
The ever-improving Hardik Pandya has been touted as a worthy successor to the Haryana Hurricane after a phenomenal 2017 but Kapil thinks the Gujarat lad can go one better.
“Hardik has the talent to become better than me and he just needs to keep playing as he is,” beamed the 58-year-old.