Dhoni is still the safest keeper in world cricket: Mongia
New Delhi : Notwithstanding criticism that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is losing his midas touch, former Indian stumper Nayan Mongia believes the Indian skipper is still the safest wicketkeeper in the world and should lead India at least till next year’s ICC World T20.
After facing a barrage of criticism for his lack of batting form and leadership qualities, Dhoni answered his critics with an unbeaten match-winning 92 against South Africa in the second one-dayer in Indore and Mongia believes that the Jharkhand powerhouse still has a lot to offer to Indian cricket.
“It’s just a matter time. I always feel that the captain is as good as his team. If the team is not doing well then you start blaming the captain. He is a wonderful player. His average, which is over 50, speaks for him,” Mongia told PTI.
“As a batsman he is just phenomenal and he has been like this for years. So I don’t see any reason why people are criticising him,” Mongia said.
Asked about the wicket-keeping talent in world cricket, the former stumper said, “After (Adam) Gilchrist retired, we have Dhoni, who is very good. You have (Quinton) de Cock in South Africa, AB (de Villiers) in T20 is very good. But if you see now in world cricket, Dhoni is the safest keeper around.”
Despite many calling for a change of guard in ODIs and T20s after Virat Kohli took over the reins in Test matches, Mongia said Dhoni is India’s best bet in the shorter formats of the game.
“It is very difficult for me to say how many years Dhoni has cricket left in him. He is the right person to see how long he wants to continue. But I don’t see any problem for him till at least the T20 World Cup next year. He is just fantastic and I think he should be given the honour of deciding his retirement,” Mongia, who represented India in 44 Tests and 140 ODIs during his six-year-long career, added.
On the topic of finding a backup for Dhoni, Mongia, who took 99 catches behind the stumps and inflicted 8 stumpings in the longer format, said even though Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha are worthy options, Robin Uthappa’s skills still attract him more.
“It is true that over a period of time we will have to look for a keeper other than Dhoni, especially for ODIs and T20s, For Test matches Wriddhiman Saha is there. Naman Ojha has got an opportunity and he looks decent. So these two players have been around for some time. They have been doing well for India A as well. So I am sure with all these three keepers, Dhoni, Saha and Ojha, we are in safe hands,” Mongia said.