IMAGE: India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni still remains the No 1 wicket-keeper in the world. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar foresees Mahendra Singh Dhoni making a 'massive' contribution in India's World Cup campaign and he feels it will not be limited to the talismanic player's much-admired instinctive reading of the game.
Dhoni has been in superb form in the ongoing Indian Premier League and has so far amassed 358 runs from 11 matches for the Chennai Super Kings. Gavaskar feels the stumper-batsman will be crucial to India posting defendable totals in the mega-event starting May 30 in the United Kingdom.
"I think it will be very important because we have a fabulous top-three. But in case the top-three don't make their usual contribution, then Dhoni's contribution down the order, whether it's at number four or five, will make a big difference in India posting a defendable total," Gavaskar said, in Navi Mumbai, on Thursday.
Gavaskar was speaking after opening the 'Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani International Centre for Child Care' in Kharghar, around 40km from Mumbai.
The veteran of 125 Tests announced that he will sponsor 34 life-saving heart surgeries for children from economically and socially-challenged sections of the society.
Gavaskar also spoke highly of Dhoni's wicket-keeping skills and how they aid skipper Virat Kohli in making field placements.
"...we have seen the wicket-keeping skills that he has. But more importantly as somebody who stands close to the wicket, guiding the spinners where to bowl, guiding the other bowlers also where to ball and making those little field adjustments...," he elaborated.
"...(Virat) Kohli, whose brilliant fielding makes it imperative for him to stand in the deep, at long-off/long-on may be, is unable to see those little changes of the back-ward point fielder moving a little bit to his right or little bit to his left, similarly square-leg fielder moving.
"So those are the kind of changes Dhoni will be able to bring about with Kohli's, of-course, full backing as well," the scorer of 34 Test hundreds explained.
Gavaskar also said the fact that Dhoni has already led India to the 2011 World Cup triumph would make his experience all the more valuable.
"And when you have somebody who's actually been in a position where he's taken the stress and taken the team to a win as he did in 2011 (World Cup), that is invaluable in your team.
"So Dhoni's contribution is going to be massive," Gavaskar signed off.