Former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener claimed MS Dhoni was the best all-rounder in the game over the past few years, Times of India reports. Klusener made the bizarre call while speaking on South Africa’s upcoming tour of India.
The 44-year-old, who is currently coaching the Dolphins side in South Africa, who recently announced the capture of Kevin Pietersen as their latest signing recently, who one of the game’s most feared all-rounders, especially in the ODI format. In fact, he was the Player of the Tournament at the 1999 World Cup were South Africa were dramatically knocked out by eventual champions Australia in the semifinals.
Klusener’s exploits were overshadowed by the more illustrious careers of his contemporaries like Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock and he admitted that the game is currently lacking genuine all-rounders who had proven their worth over a long time.
"They (all-rounders) are there, but they haven't quite proved themselves over the years. We have been lucky that we have had the likes of Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock," he said.
Klusener then went on to claim that, according to him, wicketkeepers who are handy with the bat also deserves to be classed as all-rounders and felt that the Indian ODI skipper was the best among the lot now.
“I also feel wicketkeeper-batsmen are genuine all-rounders in their own right. The likes of MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist are invaluable. The best all-rounder in world cricket in the last few years for me has to be MS Dhoni,” Klusener added.
South African pacers will be crucial, feels Klusener
South Africa embark on their longest overseas tour in history when they take on India in three T20s, five ODIs, and four Test matches. The Proteas have announced the squads for all three formats and Klusener sounded his approval to the choice made by the selectors.
“It's probably the best combination we could put together. This squad has quite a few players who have the experience of playing in India, be it on earlier tours or the IPL,” he said.
Klusener made his Test debut against India at the Eden Gardens in 1996 and made it a memorable one picking up eight wickets in the second innings. It still remains one of the best fast bowling performance by a fast bowler on Indian pitches and Klusener believes the South African pacers will play a crucial role against India.
“We have a solid seam-bowling attack with the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander, who have done well in all conditions in recent years. Steyn and Morkel have been to India many times before and know the conditions well. That for me is quite important,” he said.
“Wickets in India offer substantial assistance to spin, but I would like to believe that seam bowling is our strength and should win us games in India. The wickets in India offer some help up front for the quicks and if our seam bowlers manage to create breakthroughs, then it could put us in a comfortable position.”
Klusener praises Kohli’s captaincy
The South African joined former Australian skipper Steve Waugh in praising Kohli’s skill with both the bat and as a captain.
“He was refreshing during the Sri Lanka series. He led from the front and that's what you want your captain to do all the time. As a batsman, he is one of the best in the world. I am certain the South African team management is going to have him in mind when planning their attack. India are lucky to have someone like Kohli coming through the ranks and doing so well over the years,” he said.
Klusener praised the Indian fast bowling attack as well but was in no doubt as to which side possessed the better pace battery.
“They are looking solid and have tasted success of late. Even though the Indian seam bowling attack has been successful in the recent past, I would still like to believe that the South African (seam bowling) attack does have a lot of experience and should hold the edge.”