Dhoni one of India’s best captains, says Muralitharan

Kolkata, Jan 9 (IANS) Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni for being one of India’s best captains.

Dhoni, who won the T20 and One-Day World Cups as captain in 2007 and 2011, stepped down as the skipper of the limited overs Indian teams last week.

“In my long cricket career, Dhoni is one of the best Indian cricket captains,” Muralitharan, who is part of Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) Vision 2020 programme, told reporters here.

“The three years I played under his captaincy in Chennai Super Kings, I never saw any arrogance from Dhoni. He was always down to earth and was open to take advice from senior players like me and Michael Hussey. Being such a big star, he always maintained a low profile,” Muralitharan added.

Asked whether successor Virat Kohli will be able to fill the vacuum left by Dhoni as captain, Muralitharan said, “I have high hopes from Virat as he loves to take challenges and is a terrific batsman.”

India are set to play three One-Day International matches against England, starting on January 15.

“This England ODI team and Twenty20 team is very competitive and totally different from the Test side. Kohli should not take the English team lightly and should always go to Dhoni for advice on the field,” Muralitharan, who has 800 wickets from 133 Tests, cautioned. “It is going to be a tough series for Virat.”

Sri Lanka, a team in transition, have fared poorly in recent times losing two Tests by over 200 runs in South Africa.

Asked how the void left after players like him, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene retired, Muralitharan said, “The vacuum created by us will not be fulfilled so early. It will take more time, the boys are in the learning curve. I hope they cope well fast.”

Muralitharan ruled out any plans of returning to Sri Lankan cricket in the near future.

“Presently, I am doing well with my assignments at hand and have no plans to coach the Sri Lankan team.”