MS Dhoni Ravi Shastri
File photo: Shastri (left) with Dhoni during a training session.IANS

India's head coach Ravi Shastri has come out all guns blazing at the critics of former captain MS Dhoni and called the wicketkeeper-batsman as "one of the best".

In recent times, Dhoni has been targeted by some former players. But Shastri, skipper Virat Kohli and the team management have fully backed him.

Yet again, Shastri chose to throw his weight behind the 36-year-old Dhoni.

"We are not stupid. I have been watching this sport for the last 30-40 years. Virat has been a part of this team for a decade now. We know, at this age, he (Dhoni) can beat players aged 26. People who talk, forget that they played the game," Shastri told "India Today" TV.

Shastri blasted the critics and asked them to check how they were at the age of 36.

"If they look at themselves in the mirror and ask the question, 'what they were at the age of 36?'. Would they have run two runs faster? By the time they finish two, this guy will run three. Then he has won two World Cups and averages 51. Till today you don't have a wicketkeeper to replace him in the one-day team," he explained.

The former all-rounder added, "He is still one of the best around, not only in the Indian team, but in the world. Some of the things you see with him are not sold in the market. You will not get it anywhere else. The fact that he does not play Test cricket, means he should be playing as much cricket as possible till the World Cup in 2019."

A couple of days back, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) chief selector MSK Prasad too had supported Dhoni hinting that his place in the ODI team is secured till the 2019 World Cup in England.