MS Dhoni still a key player for India

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India opening batsman Rohit Sharma on Thursday heaped praises on his former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ahead of the three-match One Day International series against Australia, starting from Saturday.

In the recently concluded Test series, India registered their first-ever series win Down Under in the format.

"Over the years, we've seen what sort of presence he [MS Dhoni] has in the dressing room, " Rohit said. "It's also a bit of a help to the captain (Virat Kohli), also going down the batting order and that finishing touch is very important", added the 31-year-old. As of now, the 2011 World Cup winning captain is preparing for the ODI series against Australia.

"Talking about the slots in the playing eleven, he said, ".more or less, the slots are pretty much taken by individuals But having said that, I feel everything will depend on the form of each player. "We as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers don't align with those views, those were individual opinions".

Azharuddin said that Dhoni will emerge as India's No.1 player at the World Cup which will be held in England.

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"There will be one or two changes keeping in mind form and injury concerns over the next few months".

"So him being around for India is always helpful". He explained that the selection of players will be purely based on their form and nothing else.

"He has finished so many games for us, that role he plays is very important in terms of his batting".

India will take on Australia in the first of the three-match ODI series on January 12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. His calmness and advice, what he thinks about the game and what we should do right now is very important. He's guided these two guys in the middle overs, how to keep things tight, field placements.

"Both are doing really well, so somebody like a MS Dhoni standing behind the stumps and helping those guys out about what the batsman is trying to do, makes a huge difference, I think", Sharma said.

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