Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said the time has come for MS Dhoni to retire from the game in his own terms without being pushed out.
Dhoni has not played for India after the World Cup, instead opting to take a sabbatical from the game. He spent time with the Indian Army and missed the tour of West Indies, and was also not picked for the home series against South Africa.
"Nobody knows know what is in MSD's mind. Only he can clarify what he thinks his future with Indian cricket is. But I think with him being 38 now, India should be looking ahead. Because by the time the next T20 World Cup comes around he will be 39 years old," Sunil Gavaskar told India Today.
"His value to the side is always going to be fantastic. Not just the runs he will score or the stumpings he will effect. But his overall presence on the field will be calming for the captain because the captain gets the benefit of his views. So that is a huge plus. But I do believe the time has come.
"Everybody has a shelf life and I do believe with the greatest of respect to Dhoni and I am a fan as millions of others; I just believe he should be going without being pushed out. He should be going on his own terms."
Dhoni's absence has put the spotlight on Rishabh Pant, who has faced criticism from various quarters over his shot selection. Gavaskar, though, came out in support of the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"Pant is a very good prospect," Gavaskar said. "Look, the second year is always tough whether it is batsman or bowler and that's what he is finding out. People have a better idea about your strengths and weaknesses and therefore the bowlers will bowl accordingly. So I think he is facing second season blues. He has to keep his chin up."