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'Don't think there is any alternative to Dhoni in the foreseeable future'

Last updated on: August 20, 2014 07:02 IST

'Don't think there is any alternative to Dhoni in the foreseeable future'

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Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has not only backed under-fire skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but also gave a thumbs up to BCCI's move of appointing Ravi Shastri as the team director.

"He has led from the front. He has batted at difficult positions. He has set an example. If his example has not been followed by the rest of the team, I don't think you can blame the captain. I don't think there is any alternative to Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the foreseeable future and I would back him to carry on," Gavaskar told NDTV.

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Image: Sunil Gavaskar, left, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Good move to bring in Indian coaches

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In a quick reshuffle in the coaching set-up after the team's 3-1 Test loss to England, the BCCI relieved bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding consultant Trevor Penney for the one-day series and appointed former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar and ex-India pacer Bharat Arun as assistant coaches to work under Shastri.

Gavaskar was happy with the change.

"I think the fact that they have appointed coaches, assistant coaches, who have a very real interest in Indian cricket, as against a commercial interest of maybe somebody else, will have an impact. Mind you, they will not have an immediate bearing. This is not instant coffee. So you just have to be a little more patient," he said.

"But having coaches, as I have said, who have real interest, who have sweated on Indian cricket fields will make a huge difference.

"A huge difference in communication with the players... because communication is very important. There are a lot of our players who might not be able to understand some of the language spoken by the non-Indians. So the fact that we have now Indian assistant coaches will make a huge difference," he added.

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Image: Sanjay Bangar, centre, chats with the Kings XI Punjab players during an IPL match
Photographs: BCCI

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Gavaskar critical of Fletcher's role

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Reacting to reports, which mention that coach Duncan Fletcher's days may be numbered in India and the Englishman may lose his job before the West Indies series, Gavaskar said he has little interest in what the veteran coach may be thinking.

"I would not put myself in Duncan Fletcher's shoes. I wouldn't even bother to try and go into his mind what is he thinking because I am just not interested in what he thinks. I was interested in what he does. I had made my views very clear on his coaching abilities a long time ago. And I won't go further into this," said Gavaskar.

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Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

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'Ravi has got a larger role to play'

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Gavaskar was made the consultant of Team India during Sourav Ganguly's tenure as captain and John Wright as coach in 2004.

Asked to compare the present Shastri call-up to his consultancy stint, Gavaskar said that the two scenarios are totally different.

"I was a consultant in 2004. I did not want to encroach upon John Wright's coaching. I stayed away from the team meetings. I did not get into the strategising part. Ravi has got a larger role to play," he explained.

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Image: Ravi Shastri, right, and Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: BCCI

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Long-term impact

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Gavaskar also made a point on the many critics and fans who will always question the developments in Indian cricket.

"There is nothing that will actually satisfy a cricket lover. Whatever you do the Indian cricket lover will have a question. You appoint Shastri there will be a question; you sack the coaches there will be a question. Why before the one-dayers? India does well in ODIs, so why that...?

"Look, questions will always be asked. At the end of the day you got to believe that the moves you are making are going to make a long-term impact.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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