He is considered to be one of the greatest wicketkeepers in the history of Indian cricket. Syed Kirmani, with an experience of 137 international matches, is impressed with the intent shown on the field by Bangladeshi cricketers against Australia. In an exclusive interview with the CricketSoccer, the former cricketer also shows his support for MS Dhoni.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: Mahendra Singh Dhoni achieved some splendid feats in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka. He is the first wicketkeeper from India to play 300 plus One Day International matches alongside becoming the first wicketkeeper in the world to record 100 stumpings in ODIs. Your thought.
Syed Kirmani: It’s a wonderful achievement. You cannot ignore the record book. And don’t forget, he recorded most of these 100 stumping while quality spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravider Jadeja were the bowlers. So I would call it an amazing record. He should feel proud of it.
CS: But there is so much talk regarding Dhoni’s wicketkeeping technique. Do you agree with those questions about his ability to keep the wicket?
Kirmani: Look, what he has achieved in cricket, no wicketkeeper from India had ever achieved. I don’t like all these talks regarding his wicketkeeping abilities. And how can you forget his record as a captain? Under his captaincy, India reached the number one ranking in test cricket. It was dhoni who led India to two lift World Cups (ODI and T-20) and one Champions Trophy. So what’s there to talk about the technique of a cricketer who has three world level trophies in his kitty!
CS: Would you say he is the greatest captain India have ever produced?
Kirmani: Yes, the record and the stats say that all.
CS: Do you think Dhoni has a lot to offer to the Indian limited overs team as a batsman and a wicketkeeper?
Kirmani: Well, I think there is no substitute for MS Dhoni until the coming 2019 World Cup. I am sure. He is taking care of himself and his physical fitness. As a batsman too, he is the aptest person with all possible credentials of a captain and a leader. The way he batted in the ODI series against Sri Lanka is brilliant.
CS: How would you rate this India-Sri Lanka series in terms of cricketing battle?
Kirmani: Ohh, this is completely a one sided affair, both in test and ODI matches. Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen a Sri Lankan team weaker than this team. They are not a good match for the current Indian side. I am upset to see the body language of the Lankan players. As if they have lost all the games before they started practically. You can not afford to wear such a body language when you are competing with the best in the business. I don’t think that this India-Sri Lanka series, both the test and ODIs, is a good advertisement for cricket.
CS: But Bangladesh is doing well against Australia. Leading the Test series 1-0, that too against a team like Australia, would not you say this fantastic?
Kirmani: Fantastic, for sure. Bangladesh is one country in the cricketing fraternity which has improved a lot. And I don’t think that their win against Australia was an accident, it wasn’t any upset. It was bound to happen. Australia has struggled in the sub continent in the recent past. Everybody should give credit to the Bangladesh Cricket team in stead of criticizing the Aussies. Bangladesh is playing as a unit.
CS: What’s the most impressive part of this Bangladesh team?
Kirmani: Their body language. They might not have a rich cricketing history like Australia, but the way they are appearing on the ground is fabulous. It reflects that they dream to win. And I always believe that if there is intent, nothing is impossible. I admire the energy of Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and all. I haven’t seen such a lively, energetic Bangladesh team before.
CS: Australia is coming to India to play one day and T-20 series. Is it going to be a one sided affair as well?
Kirmani: It will be tough for Australia to beat this Indian team, and that too in Indian condition. But in limited overs cricket, you never know. All depends on the team’s performance on a given day. But I feel India is going to win the series quite comfortably.