Referring to the former India captain's debut back in 2004, Srikkanth said that MS Dhoni's inclusion in the Indian team gave hope to cricketers from across the country to push for a spot in the national side.
"When somebody like Dhoni made it to the national side, the powerhouses of Indian cricket started to change, a cricketer from Ranchi was a masterstroke, a zonal selector was watching cricket in the east and he saw something really special in Dhoni," Srikkanth told ANI.
Srikkanth referred to the fact that for a long time before Dhoni's arrival, Indian cricketers were only coming from metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai among other places. And despite Dhoni not being able to make a mark in his debut series, he soon found form against Pakistan.
The former India opener also shed light on how 'small-town' players are now harbouring hopes of making the national side and are ready to fight for their spot in the Indian cricket team, courtesy of Dhoni's example.
"Post Dhoni era, we have seen a lot of players from small towns making the cut. This legacy will be very huge and it is a testament to Dhoni. The team was handed over in the right way to Virat," he added.
MS Dhoni's captaincy method was opposite to the one followed by Sourav Ganguly
The 60-year-old former India cricketer also heaped praise on MS Dhoni's captaincy, emphasising his leadership skills which helped India clinch the inaugural T20 World Cup. Srikkanth further added that the World T20 win boosted MS Dhoni's confidence as captain and that the wicketkeeper-batsman learned a lot while playing under Anil Kumble in the Test format.
"Dhoni has always been calm and cool. Sourav Ganguly brought in the aggressive culture, MS was opposite of that, when Kumble was captain of the Test side, it was a good chance for Dhoni to learn. Anil (Kumble) gave him much-needed experience," Srikkanth added.
Having led India in the LOI formats from 2007-2016 and the Test team from 2008-2014, Dhoni remains one of the most successful captains in world cricket. As for his playing career, the former India captain last turned out for the national side during the 2019 World Cup.