Former South Africa batsman and India coach Gary Kirsten has lashed out Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s critics and expressed surprise over calls of his retirement. Speaking at a book launch, he was quoted as saying by DNA, “I saw some big shots this evening (Wednesday). I saw some huge shots. Do the media do that to the players? Why would they run a player down like it? He is one of the greatest players India have ever had. Would they do that to Sachin (Tendulkar)? I think it’s very unfair.” (Also Catch: India vs South Africa 3rd ODI Live Scorecard and Ball by Ball Commentary here)

Earlier, former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin and pacer Ajit Agarkar has said that Dhoni was past his best and his days were numbered. They even suggested that that he should step down from captaincy. However, Kirsten wasn’t too pleased with the suggestion, “Absolutely not. Why? I don’t understand why people say that. We look at it from the outside. Everyone is surprised when people say that. Why must he go?” Also Read: India vs South Africa 2015 Complete Schedule

“I have always said that he is one of the greatest players to have ever played. I have worked with him as a coach. He is a great player. He will be regarded as one of India’s great players if not the greatest captain. His performances tell the story. You just have to look at his performances,” he added. (Also Read: India vs South Africa, 3rd ODI Preview here)

Kirsten also said the opposition sides would be more than happy to not play against him. “The South African players will be happy if he wasn’t there in the team.Who is going to replace him? Virat (Kohli) bats at No. 3. What is his (Dhoni’s) one-day average. Best in the world? (Laughs). I can’t understand the thinking,” he concluded.