Kohli, Rohit part of meeting where Dhoni was dropped. What lies ahead for ex-captain?

MS Dhoni was dropped from India’s T20I squads for West Indies and Australia series, where Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will captain the team, respectively:

 

  • MS Dhoni was not included in either of the T20I squads vs West Indies and Australia
  • The chairman of selectors said that the team wants to try out other keepers
  • Captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma were present in the meeting

S Dhoni’s fans got a rude shock late on Friday as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced India T20I squads for West Indies and Australia series and the team did not feature former India captain Dhoni.

Soon, experts and fans begun contemplating if this was the end of Dhoni’s T20I career amd took to social media to express their displeasure over the selection snub.

While fans showed their anger on social media, many argued that Dhoni will most definitely not be around by the time the 2020 World T20 in Australia comes by and so, this decision was simply a move towards the future.

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The selection committee has always maintained that they remain in touch with the requirements of the captain and the Indian team management and the same was backed up by a senior BCCI official.

“It’s a given that Dhoni won’t be around when next ICC World T20 happens in Australia in 2020. So, there wasn’t any point continuing with him if he will not play World T20,” a senior BCCI official privy to selection policy told news agency PTI on Saturday.

“Obviously, the selectors and team management had a good deliberation on this issue. Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were present at the selection committee meeting.

“You think selectors could have gone ahead without their approval?” the official added.

All through his career, Dhoni has been calling the shots and has had absolute control over his career. It is not outrightly known if Dhoni was privy to the decision but many believe the selectors would not have gone ahead with the their decision without having Dhoni in the know how.

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All this seems like the beginning of the end for the legendary stumper. The selection committee has now shown early signs of phasing him out and it looks likely that the 2019 ICC World Cup will be the last time he will don the India blues.

Chief selector MSK Prasad addressed the queries related to what lay ahead for Dhoni’s T20I career with a “this is not the end of Dhoni in T20Is”.

“He [Dhoni] is not going to be play the six T20Is [West Indies and Australia] because we are looking at the second keeper’s slot. So I think we will retain Rishabh [Pant] and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat,” Prasad said.

But what if Rishabh Pant clicks with the bat in Australia? There is no questioning Dhoni’s wicketkeeping skills but it is evident that his batting prowess is in the wane. What if the team combination in England next year requires smashing batting skills? — an attribute that Dhoni has been missing since a while.

“If Pant plays well and Dhoni’s inconsistent run continues, would you still call him a certainty for World Cup? On what basis?” questioned a former India player.

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“The lack of game time has been pretty evident this year. I don’t know maybe he is thinking that from January till World Cup, he will be playing a lot of games including IPL for CSK and he doesn’t need practice,” the former international added.

Questions have been raised recently about Dhoni not choosing to play domestic cricket. Recently, Dhoni had refused to play Jharkhand’s Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-finals against Maharashtra despite the national selection committee chairman MSK Prasad’s public announcement of him playing the game.

Jharkhand coach Rajiv Kumar had informed that it was Dhoni’s view that it was not fair on the team for him to join at that stage.

“Dhoni feels that it would not be fair for him to join us at this stage, given that the team has done so well and reached the quarter-final stage in his absence. He does not want to upset the team balance.

“He has to go to Hyderabad on October 16 to report for the ODI series. Maybe he will come for a day, I don’t know yet what his plan is, but so far, he is not coming. But it may be possible. You know he takes his own decisions. He is saying the boys are doing well, so there is no point coming for just one game and taking somebody’s place,” Kumar said.

India great Sunil Gavaskar had also expressed his concern and said that Dhoni should play domestic cricket to get back in form.

“Absolutely [when asked if Dhoni should feature in domestic cricket]. Dhoni should be playing domestic cricket and should be playing the four-day games as well because he will help so many of the emerging players from Jharkhand,” Gavaskar told India Today.

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Evidently, the road ahead for MS Dhoni is only getting trickier. While there are no questions raised on his contribution to the team in terms of fielding, wicketkeeping and captaincy, his batting form has been a topic of great debate.

And it is that one aspect that Dhoni needs to fix as soon as possible for him to keep his stranglehold on his career decisions.

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