'Dhoni is irreplaceable, can beat players of aged 26 with his fitness': Ravi Shastri

Shastri also said that Dhoni's critics should perhaps analyse their own careers at 36 before finding faults in the former Indian captain

Team India coach Ravi Shastri on Christmas slammed MS Dhoni’s critics, saying that the former Indian captain is irreplaceable in the Indian ODI team right now as he can beat young players with his fitness.

Shastri further said that Dhoni’s critics should perhaps analyse their own careers at 36 before finding faults in the World Cup-winning captain.

While talking to India Today, Shastri said,

We are not stupid. I have been watching this sport for the last 30-40 years. Virat has been a part of this team for a decade now. We know, at this age, he (Dhoni) can beat players aged 26. People who talk, forget that they played the game.

Dhoni also performed well in the just concluded Sri Lanka series. He impressed Indian cricket fans with his reflexes behind the stumps and with the bat as well.

Shastri added,

If they look at themselves in the mirror and ask the question, ‘what they were at the age of 36?’. Would they have run two runs faster? But the time they finish two, this guy will run three. Then he has won only two World Cups and averages only 51. Till today you don’t have a wicket-keeper to replace him in the one-day team.

Let’s have a look at MS Dhoni’s stats in 2017:

Dhoni in ODIs:
In 2017, Dhoni played 29 ODIs and scored 788 runs at an average of 60.61 and with a strike rate of 84.73. In 22 innings, Dhoni scored 1 century and 6 half-centuries with the highest score of 134 against England in Cuttack. During his 134-run knock, Dhoni stayed for 203 minutes on the pitch. He also claimed a Man of the Match award in 2017.

Dhoni in T20Is:
In 13 T20Is, Dhoni scored 252 runs at an average 42.00. His highest score was 56. He ended the 2017 season with 19 fours and 9 sixes under his belt in the shortest format of the game.

Interesting stats:
1040 – the number of runs MS Dhoni aggregated in international cricket in 2017. This was the 11th calendar year where Dhoni aggregate over 1000 international runs. Among Indians, only Sachin Tendulkar (16) and Rahul Dravid (11) have aggregated 1000 international runs in as many calendar years as Dhoni.