New Delhi: Legendary Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting fired a warning to those doubting MS Dhoni's ability to contribute as a player, saying 'never write off a champion player', though he also admitted that this might well be his last season in the Indian Premier League.
Dhoni, who has been inconsistent with the bat for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 10, has often been criticised by some of the greats of the game including former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly but Ponting feels it is just a downside of having enjoyed enormous success in the past.
"I've been there myself and when you start to slide just a little bit, criticism is going to come your way. And to be fair, he probably hasn't had much negativity come his way over the past 15 or 20 years. So it'll be really interesting to see how he handles that over the coming weeks.
"Things can turn around in this game pretty quickly and one thing I've learned in this game with champion players is to never write them off. They always find a way to keep coming back. "It happened with (Glenn) McGrath and (Shane) Warne and all those great players that I was lucky enough to play with. "He'll find a way and he'll win games for his team.
The former Aussie skipper also admitted that he was rather surprised with the franchise's decision to remove him as captain and give Steve Smith the bandwagon.
Ponting also added that if Dhoni is willing, he might well be seen doning Indian colours in the 2019 World Cup. Also, considering his age, this might well be his last season ever in the Indian Premier League.
"If you think about Dhoni and his age, this might well be his last IPL," Ponting said. "There's no basis to me saying that. It just seemed like a strange time to move him on as captain if he wasn't coming towards the end.
"Obviously they've made a decision that they think is right for that team and Steve Smith taking over was what the hierarchy and the coaching staff thought was the right thing to do.
"We're talking about someone who's 35 years of age and has pretty much achieved everything in the game. He's won a World Cup, he's captained his team to be the No.1 Test team in the world, he's captained IPL-winning teams as well. "There's not much left for him to achieve out of the game. It's going to come down to how hungry he is and how much he wants it."