India's head coach Ravi Shastri shielded MS Dhoni and suggested that the 36-year-old is good enough to leave 26-year-olds behind. We also saw an example of Dhoni's fitness when he beat his young teammate Hardik Pandya in a 100m sprint.
Shastri backed Dhoni and lashed out at people who questioned his inclusion in the side. Speaking to IndiaToday, 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's fitness has never been questioned and he is still among those who clear the fitness and endurance test with ease. His running between the wickets and reflexes behind the stumps have not affected by the age.
Shastri questioned the analysts who are questioning his form. He said they should remember what their career was like when they were 36.
"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," he asserted.
Shastri said Dhoni's skill set is not easy to find and it would be long before a replacement comes along.
"He is still one of the best around, not only in the Indian team, but in the world. Some of the things you see with him are not sold in the market. You will not get it anywhere else," he said.
"The fact that he does not play Test cricket means he should be playing as much cricket as possible till the World Cup in 2019," he added.