What’s the story?
If there were any doubts about Mahendra Singh Dhoni's international future, head coach Ravi Shastri dismissed them completely yesterday. He stated that considering Dhoni's current form and fitness, the team management cannot even consider removing the stalwart at the moment.
The 55-year-old newly appointed head coach added that Dhoni remains the best wicket-keeper in limited overs cricket.
"A player is evaluated on the basis of his current form and fitness and Dhoni has both. If you see his wicket-keeping, he is the best in ODI cricket. His fitness is superb, he batted well in Sri Lanka. And let me tell you, it was just a trailer what you saw in Sri Lanka... now wait for the movie," Shastri told India TV.
Shastri went on to clarify that should Dhoni retain his fitness and current form, there will be no question about his place in the 2019 ODI World Cup.
"If he continues to play like this, there no question of not having him in the team for the 2019 world cup. You can't even think of a team without Dhoni," he said.
In case you didn’t know…
At the recently concluded series in Sri Lanka, Dhoni was in top form, scoring 162 runs in four ODI innings, remaining unbeaten on all occasions, at a strike rate of 82.23.
The former India captain, who featured in his 300th ODI in Lanka, also showcased his skills behind the wicket. He became the first wicket-keeper in ODI history to affect 100 stumpings during the ODI series.
The heart of the matter
Shastri, who replaced Anil Kumble as the head coach in July this year after the latter resigned, felt that there is still a lot to come for Dhoni and lauded his performances in the island country.
Comparing Dhoni with the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, Shastri said that the 36-year-old’s achievements need to be respected.
The India coach also assured reporters that the doors to the national team were not closed for anyone and that he had spoken to the BCCI seeking rest for some of the players after the Australia series.
India are set to host Australia in a five-match ODI series beginning on 17th September, 2017. If they manage to beat Australia by a 4-1 margin, they will claim the No. 1 ODI spot.
The ODI series will be followed by a three match T20I series.
Dhoni’s contribution to Indian cricket has been immense. His experience at the top-most level is second to none in this Indian team. Moreover, the kind of form he is in, it is absolutely essential for him to be in the team.