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ESPNcricinfo staff 8d

Shastri hits out at 'people who are waiting to see the end of MS Dhoni'

Cricket

MS Dhoni has received more public support from the Indian team's management with regard to his future in T20Is. Following Virat Kohli's statement that it was unfair to target Dhoni, India's head coach Ravi Shastri has backed the former captain, saying "great players" decide their own future.

Dhoni's place was the subject of debate after his 37-ball 49 in India's defeat in the second T20I against New Zealand. His innings was in stark contrast to Kohli's free-flowing aggression at the other end and prompted former players and TV experts to question his strike rate and inability to hit big shots.

While Kohli said he did not understand why Dhoni was the only player being targeted, Shastri's defence was more assertive.

"Looks like there are a lot of jealous people around, who just want Dhoni to have a couple of bad days," Shastri said to Anandabazar Patrika. "There are a few people who are waiting to see the end of MS Dhoni. But great players like him decide their own future.

"It [criticism] doesn't make a difference to me. In our mind we know where Dhoni stands within the team. He is an ultimate team man. He was a great leader and now an ultimate team man."

The sentiment was echoed by Kohli, who had said that Dhoni was playing a specific role and was appreciated in the dressing room.

"As team management and players, we understand the situations in which he goes out to bat. We don't get emotional and excited by the opinions of people who are looking at things from a different point of view," Kohli said. "If you are playing, you know how the wicket is and what the situation is like. So I think he is doing absolutely fine. He understands his game, he understands his role, but it doesn't come off every time."

Shastri went on to suggest that the nature of television might have prompted some experts to offer the views they did.

"Not so long ago I used to do television and people used to ask me questions. You need to answer questions to make a show happen," he said. "Dhoni is a superstar. He is one of our greatest cricketers. When you have a career as glorious as that, you become a topic on television."

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