Former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani said he felt proud of Mahendra Singh Dhoni who completed his 200th Test dismissal, and in the process surpassed his record tally of 198, against West Indies at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi yesterday.
MS Dhoni celebrates the wicket of Marlon Samuels at Feroz Shah Kotla
"I am so proud of him for breaking records and bringing laurels to the country. I want to congratulate him for this wonderful achievement. I was the happiest man in the world when he became captain (in 2007), and now I am even happier that he's India's most successful wicketkeeper of all time," Kirmani told MiD DAY yesterday.
Kirmani said he was sure Dhoni "was a long-term player" when he first met him in 2005. "People talk about technique and all that. He has proved that things like technique and basics don't matter as long as you are attentive, and in the process, effective. That's what you require to be successful. I always knew he had what is needed to be a long-term player. He believes in delivering results and doesn't dwell on technicalities."
The Karnataka great felt Dhoni was a trendsetter for future wicketkeeper-batsmen. "I was the vice-captain of India for a while, but never got the captaincy. I was forced to announce my retirement when I was on the brink of breaking Rodney Marsh's record of 96 Tests (for most Tests by a wicketkeeper). In India, we always saw the wicketkeeper as an add-on in the team who could never lead. That's why it gives me great pleasure to see a wicketkeeper and a very unorthodox one take charge of Indian cricket. What he has done will inspire a whole new generation take up to wicketkeeping," he said.
However, Kirmani didn't refrain from concluding that Dhoni was playing in an era that lacks quality spin bowling.
"A wicketkeeper's skill-level is judged by how well he stands up to a spinner. That's one of the reasons I was praised all over the world because I had to keep to the best spinners in the world. These days, there aren't too many good spinners. Having said that, every era brings its own set of challenges," he signed off.