Some former cricketers may have selected their best-ever Indian team recently, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni does not favour such a practice, saying "one should respect every individual who has played for the country".
"It's very difficult to compare and compile all the players and teams of all era. Personally, I won't select my best team ever because I feel we should respect everyone who has played for India," Dhoni said at a promotional event here on Monday.
Two stalwarts of Indian cricket -- Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly -- recently picked their best-ever Indian ODI squads which had a few surprises. Surprisingly, while Kapil's all-time best ODI squad did not have a single player from India's 1983 World Cup-winning side, Ganguly's dream ODI and Test teams reflected a post-Eighties selection.
Ganguly ignored the spin troika of Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and B S Chandrasekhar in any squad. He named VVS Laxman as 12th man in Test squad while totally ignoring Mohammed Azharuddin. Unlike the 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil who did not include himself in his dream ODI team,
Ganguly didn't hesitate to name himself in both the ODI and Test teams he selected.
Dhoni though has asserted that he will never come out with his list.
"I don't think I will ever make my all-time greatest India team. You cannot compare one era with another as they will be different. Whether a player has played one match or a hundred, we should give him respect for what he has achieved and leave it at that. It is like, comparing two-stroke bikes with four-stroke. I don't think you will get a better product by mixing them. At least I will never make an all time list."
In what can be seen as a ray of hope for out-of-favour seniors like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and others, Dhoni said that not age but form and fitness was crucial for the success of any cricketer. "I don't think age is a factor. What matters is form and fitness and not age," he said.
He was also of the view that all forms of the game are important. "They are all inter-related. Performance in one will have an impact on the other form," Dhoni said.
Dhoni, undoutedly the most successful Indian captain of all-time, lauded his deputy Virat Kohli for his leadership qualities. "Kohli is a fantastic cricketer. He has great knowledge about the game and has done well as a captain. He has all the right recipes. He is very expressive on the field," said the wicket-keeper batsman under whose leadership India had won both the ICC Twenty20 World Cup and the ICC 50-over World Cup apart from this year's Champions Trophy.
Dhoni believes that the toss will be crucial in the upcoming seven-match one-day home series against Australia in October-November, all the matches being day-nighters.
Dhoni said since all matches, including a Twenty20 game during the Oct 10-Nov 2 tour, were day-night affairs, dew would definitely be a factor and that makes winning the toss much more important.
"Australia's tour of India is important. Around that time there will be a lot of dew, so it will be vital to win the toss. We will still try to give our best in the series," said Dhoni.
On the performance of the young Indian team in Zimbabwe and South Africa, the 32-year-old said the experience will help them when India tours South Africa in November.
"The exposure the boys are getting in Zimbabwe and South Africa will help them in the long run. It will help them when they take on a quality opposition like South Africa later this year. They have done really well and the experience will help them in adjusting to conditions better," added Dhoni.