Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar and other ex-cricketers said in unison that one should refrain from drawing comparison between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his predecessors. The batting maestro insisted to rejoice India's success in the ICC Champions Trophy.
Dhoni is now the only captain in the world to win all three major ICC trophies including Twenty20 World Cup, the 50-over World Cup and the Champions Trophy.
Asked if Dhoni can be called India's best-ever captain, Gavaskar said any comparison would be unfair.
"Generations cannot be compared, eras were different so it's not fair to compare. Surely he is one of the best India has had. Results speak for themselves. He took India to number one in Tests, won 2011 World Cup, T20 World Cup in 2007 and now the Champions Trophy. We should be rejoicing (instead of making comparisons)," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Former batsman Ajay Jadeja also had similar views and credited the system within the BCCI for entrusting the job of leading the side to Dhoni at a time when a lot of seniors were around.
"Demands were different... when Pataudi took over India were trying to play and do something different. When Azhar took over... Somebody in the system thought that Dhoni was the right choice when there were a lot more experienced players.
"He has worked with different kind of players, teams which had no experience. He led all kind of men, great as well as ordinary," Jadeja said.
Former India fast bowler and bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad also felt that there should not be any comparison. He said what sets Dhoni apart was his decision-making.
"It is absolutely tough; all captains had different set of players, different combination of selectors. Dhoni gave freedom to his bowlers, he backs his decisions, his field positions are weired but he goes by his instincts. He has given the confidence to the players," Prasad said.
Former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad also said that Dhoni's strange but successful decisions makes him a different kind of a leader. Gaekwad initially doubted if Dhoni would prove to be a successful skipper.
"He removes the (batting) pads and gloves and comes on to bowl. That's how he does (his job). Dhoni has done a lot of experimentation and proved me wrong and cricket is meant for that. He is prepared to take risks and got rewards. And it's not easiest things, he is wicketkeeper, he is captain and has to do the batting responsibilities, he has done a great all- round job," Gaekwad said.
Gavaskar said that Dhoni has got the best out of his players.
"A captain is as good as his team. But a great captain is one who produces results even with not so good team. Dhoni is a great captain. In 2007 he won T20 World Cup, he did not have the best players, even in this Champions Trophy he did not have experienced players. You got to say he is great as he has got the best out of players under him," the batsman said.
Gavaskar felt what sets this current team apart was that it has a great hunger for success.
"This team is champion since it had greater hunger for success and a great desire to show that they belong to this arena. Champions have that little extra and this team has that and that's why they are champions," he said.
The former captain also suggested that though the current bunch of players will make the core of the team at the 2015 World Cup, the BCCI should send A team to Australia and New Zealand late next year so that they can get a feel of the conditions.
"Maybe there will be a few changes, depending on the form. Maybe new guys will come in. Sending A team to Australia and New Zealand would be a good idea."
Image: MS Dhoni
Photograph: Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images