Amid a lot of scrutiny over his circumspect approach in India’s last few World Cup games, former Australia captain Michael Clarke has come out in support of veteran wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni, saying he is the greatest finisher ever to play this game.
Clarke also insisted people not to doubt Dhoni's greatness as he feels a big innings from India's 2011 World Cup winning skipper is around the corner.
"People haven't learnt by now to not doubt MS Dhoni. I will say this... over and over and over again. You don't doubt greatness. And MS Dhoni is a great. He is the greatest finisher to ever play to this game," Clarke told India Today.
"Right now, India is doing it without MS Dhoni firing. Don't waste him now. Save him for when India really need him. He might do it in the semi-final, he might do it in the final," he added.
In the showpiece tournament thus far, Dhoni has amassed 223 runs from seven innings at a good strike rate of 93. However, his intent-less batting has often come under the scanner.
Coming into bat at No. 5 in the 27th over, Dhoni scored 28 off 52 balls against Afghanistan while he started slow but shifted gears to finish with 61-ball 56 versus the West Indies.
Although Dhoni scored 42 off 31 balls against England, a lot of cricket experts and fans question his intent in the last five overs of India’s chase at Edgbaston on June 30. Dhoni made a 33-ball 35 against Bangladesh as India went on to post 314 after looking good for a score in excess of 350. He kept denying singles to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the non-striker's end before getting out in the third ball of the final over.
Despite his struggles, Clarke warned the opposition players and captains to be aware of Dhoni.
"As an opposition player or captain, you would be so silly to write him off," he said.
Meanwhile, the Men in Blue have qualified for the semi-final having won 6 of their 8 games. Virat Kohli and company will take on Sri Lanka in their last league match of the quadrennial event on July 6.