'Criticising Dhoni is like questioning Sachin's ability'
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's first coach Chanchal Bhattacharya on Thursday heaped praise on his beleaguered ward saying criticising the Indian skipper would be like questioning the run-making ability of Sachin Tendulkar.
The 49-year-old Bhattacharya, under whom Dhoni made the life-changing switch from being a football goalkeeper to a wicketkeeper in 1995, feels the critics should refrain from making negative statements.
'Criticism is always welcome but it should be healthy'
"The other day (Sunil) Gavaskar was after Dhoni's captaincy and recently (after the win in Kochi) I've heard him saying there cannot be a captain like him," Bhattacharya said.
"Criticism is always welcome but it should be healthy. You should understand everyday is not a Sunday. He has given you all the titles -- from the World T20 title, the World Cup victory and being No 1 in Tests. It's like questioning the ability of Tendulkar's run-making skills."
'I'm sure he's thinking about giving up one format'
But looking at the tremendous workload of Dhoni, Bhattacharya said the Indian skipper can consider giving up one format by 2014.
"Looking at World Cup 2015, I'm sure he's seriously thinking about giving up one format. However, we never spoke about it. It's been a long time -- since February -- that we last spoke," Bhattacharya said.
Fans are all excited about seeing Ranchi's favourite son in his own backyard for the first time, but Bhattacharya is a little jittery.
'I pray to God that he does well'
"Like any other coach, I'm nervous. I pray to God that he does well and the team wins on the day. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
"Definitely there will be pressure for home ground for Mahi, but I still believe he would keep his cool demeanour and perform up to the expectations of thousands of fans."
'Dhoni was dedication personified'
Recollecting Dhoni's childhood, Bhattacharya, who is the sports head in Central University of Jharkhand, said he had spotted the ability in the Indian skipper very early.
"He was dedication personified. If I told him to make 10 laps, he would complete it at any cost. But at the same time, he's very down to earth and courteous, which is the hallmark of a leader."
"I used to go to his school Jawahar Vidya Mandir. When I saw him first in 1995, he was a football goalkeeper and I asked him whether he would like to play cricket and do wicket-keeping," he said.
"He batted at No 9 in the first match and did a good job behind the stumps and never looked back," Bhattacharya signed off.