Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni's indifferent form may have come under the scanner in recent times, but Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma believes he will play a pivotal role at the World Cup later this year.
Backing his former captain to the hilt, Rohit said that Dhoni’s finishing abilities, and his calm-inducing quality, would be crucial come the World Cup, which starts in England on May 30.
"“Over the years we have seen what sort of presence he (Dhoni) has in the dressing room and on the field. With him being around, there is a sense of calmness in the group, which is very important, and also a bit of help to the captain because he stands behind the stumps.”" - Rohit Sharma, Indian vice-captain
Also Read: Why MS Dhoni Remains Integral to Team India
“He has captained India for so many years and been successful. So him being around with the team always is helpful. He is like a guiding light around the group,” Rohit stated on Thursday, 10 January, at a press conference in Sydney ahead of India’s upcoming ODI series in Australia.
Fresh off the high of a first-ever Test series win on Australian soil, the Indian team now turns its attention to the 50-over format in what is a vital period with less than five months left for the World Cup.
Dhoni’s dipping finishing skills with the bat – he averaged 25 in 13 innings in 2018, with a significantly below-par strike rate of 71.42 – have come under immense scrutiny, but Rohit insisted that the 37-year-old remains a useful commodity with the bat.
"“...batting down the order, getting us through the line, his finishing touch is very important and he has finished so many games for us. His calmness and advice, what he thinks about the game and what we should do right now is very important. His presence around the group is a massive factor for us.”" - Rohit Sharma, Indian vice-captain
Rohit further added that young bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav benefit from Dhoni's presence behind the stumps.
“Chahal and Kuldeep are both doing really well so somebody like Dhoni standing behind the stumps and helping those guys about what the batsman is trying to do, it makes a huge difference I think.
“These guys started playing for India in 2017 and since then they have done really well in and outside India. And one of the reasons for that is MS and how he has guided these two guys in the middle about how to keep things tight and field placements.
“He has played a massive role ever since the time he has left captaincy,” said the 31-year-old.
India’s three-match ODI series to conclude their two-month long tour of Australia gets underway at Sydney on Saturday, 12 January.
(With inputs from PTI)
. Read more on Cricket by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsAndy Murray’s Emotional Retirement Presser Moves Tennis Fraternity . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.