New Delhi, March 14: Former Australian captain Michael Clarke joined the chorus to back former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's importance in the limited overs.
Clarke on Thursday warned critics to "never underestimate" the importance of veteran cricketer after Team India lost the deciding ODI against Australia on Wednesday (March 13) in Delhi.
Clarke - the 2015 World Cup winning Australian captain - tweeted after Aaron Finch-led side beat much fancied India at the Feroz Shah Kotla for a stunning come-from-behind 3-2 series win.
"Never underestimate the importance of MSD - experience in the middle order is so important," Clarke wrote on his twitter handle about the seasoned player who has also led his country to two World Cup triumphs.
India surrendered a 2-0 lead in the just-concluded five-match series even as the Australians made a remarkable comeback by winning three consecutive matches.
Incidentally, Dhoni did not feature in the last two games with young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant struggling to fill in the former India captain's shoes.
Before Clarke, former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi and Australian great Shane Warne too shared similar observations.
72-year-old Bedi told PTI, "I am nobody to comment but we all are wondering that why Dhoni is being rested and his absence was felt Sunday (March 10), behind the stumps, with the bat and on the field also. He is almost half a captain."
"Dhoni is not getting any younger, he is no spring chicken either but the team needs him. He has a calming influence on the side. The captain needs him by his side, he is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign," said the spin great who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests.
Warne had similar thoughts when he said, "Dhoni is a great player. He can bat anywhere whatever the team needs. He is adaptable & anyone criticising him has no idea what they're talking about. India need him in the World Cup, they need his experience & leadership skills on the field to help Virat Kohli as well."
Under Dhoni's captaincy, India won the inaugural World T20 in 2007 and the ICC World Cup in 2011, ending a 28-year drought. Not just as a reliable batsman and wicketkeeper, Dhoni's guidance in the field was also missed in the last two matches that India lost against Australia.