`Criticising Dhoni is like questioning Sachin`s ability`

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2013, 14:32 PM IST

Ranchi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s first coach Chanchal Bhattacharya on Thursday heaped praise on his beleaguered ward saying criticising the Indian skipper would be like questioning the run-making ability of Sachin Tendulkar.

The 49-year-old Bhattacharya, under whom Dhoni made the life-changing switch from being a football goalkeeper to a wicketkeeper in 1995, feels the critics should refrain from making negative statements.

"The other day (Sunil) Gavaskar was after Dhoni`s captaincy and recently (after the win in Kochi) I`ve heard him saying there cannot be a captain like him," Bhattacharya said.

"Criticism is always welcome but it should be healthy. You should understand everyday is not a Sunday. He has given you all the titles -- from the World T20 title, the World Cup victory and being No 1 in Tests. It`s like questioning the ability of Tendulkar`s run-making skills."

But looking at the tremendous workload of Dhoni, Bhattacharya said the Indian skipper can consider giving up one format by 2014.

"Looking at World Cup 2015, I`m sure he`s seriously thinking about giving up one format. However, we never spoke about it. It`s been a long time -- since February -- that we last spoke," Bhattacharya said.

Fans are all excited about seeing Ranchi`s favourite son in his own backyard for the first time, but Bhattacharya is a little jittery.

"Like any other coach, I`m nervous. I pray to God that he does well and the team wins on the day. I`m keeping my fingers crossed.

"Definitely there will be pressure for home ground for Mahi, but I still believe he would keep his cool demeanour and perform up to the expectations of thousands of fans."

Recollecting Dhoni`s childhood, Bhattacharya, who is the sports head in Central University of Jharkhand, said he had spotted the ability in the Indian skipper very early.

"He was dedication personified. If I told him to make 10 laps, he would complete it at any cost. But at the same time, he`s very down to earth and courteous, which is the hallmark of a leader.

"I used to go to his school Jawahar Vidya Mandir. When I saw him first in 1995, he was a football goalkeeper and I asked him whether he would like to play cricket and do wicket-keeping," he said.

"He batted at No 9 in the first match and did a good job behind the stumps and never looked back," Bhattacharya signed off.