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Champions Trophy 2017: MS Dhoni is a legend and cannot be written off, says Makhaya Ntini

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dh : News Photo
Dhoni still has it, feels Ntini
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 04 Jun 2017
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What’s the story?

Former South African pacer, Makhaya Ntini praised former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni during a conversation with Hindustan Times and opined that one can never write Dhoni off irrespective of his form as he is such an impactful player. He also expressed his thoughts about India’s bowling attack in the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and claims Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be India’s No.1 bowler in the English conditions.

“You never doubt Dhoni. He can never be finished. That guy can take the game away any given time. You give him the game, he’ll do what he wants to do. He’s a legend. The moment you write him off, he rises up.” said the 39-year-old in a chat with the Hindustan Times.

“You need to have Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the playing XI. If you don’t have that little boy, you’re missing the point. That young man, with the conditions that you’d be facing in England, he’s No 1. He can swing the ball, he can do anything that he wants to with the ball. We’re not talking about batsmen. If you guys (India) put your hand in your pocket, you’ll find a batsman and spinner. You guys are so powerful, that any other nation would love to be like you.” he added.

In case you didn’t know...

The legendary pacer from South Africa who has featured in 101 Tests, 173 ODI’s and 10 T20 matches is now the bowling coach for Zimbabwe and is trying to revive the team from their miserable condition.

Ntini played under Dhoni’s captaincy for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and has seen Dhoni work from close quarters.

The heart of the matter

A lot is being told about Dhoni’s form in recent times, about him not being the finisher he once was. But the 39-year-old agrees to disagree as he feels that Dhoni is a legend and someone who the moment one writes off, will rise.

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Ntini also shared his thoughts about India’s current bowling attack and feels that the nation has produced some outstanding pacers over the last few years, be it Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav or Jasprit Bumrah.

However, Ntini is convinced that if India were to succeed in the Champions Trophy, they have to pick Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the playing XI as he is their No.1 bowler in the English conditions. He believes that the bowler’s ability to swing the new ball both ways will be instrumental throughout the tournament.

The ex-Proteas pacer lastly spoke about the current South African squad being led by AB de Villiers. He opined that the team is well balanced but South Africa should learn from their previous series against England which they lost 1-2, they should put their plans to good use and only then will they have a healthy chance at winning the title.

Also read: MS Dhoni can play till 2019 World Cup, believes Stephen Fleming

What’s next?

India will be taking Pakistan head-on in their opening game of the Champions trophy on Sunday, June 4. The game is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm (IST).

Author’s take

Makhaya Ntini is one of those players who cannot be hated and has won hearts with his broad smile and humble attitude. His comment on Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is completely in tune with precedent stats.

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Dhoni in the middle-order is most definitely a player to watch-out for and with the deadly combination of being calm-collected along with his unquenchable thirst to do well in big games will daunt any opposition.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the current swing-king of India and is in his purple patch. Hence his addition in the playing XI may just turn out to be fruitful.

Published 04 Jun 2017, 12:21 IST
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