MS Dhoni’s sabbatical from international cricket is about to end as the veteran wicketkeeper batsman is all set to feature in the three-match ODI series against Australia, starting on January 12.
It is pertinent to mention that Dhoni was snubbed from India’s T20I squad for the home series against West Indies and three T20Is in Australia later last year. In 2018, the 37-year-old averaged 25 in the 50-over format from 19 matches and thus questions were raised whether the experienced campaigner deserves to be in India’s World Cup scheme of things.
Amidst the scrutiny, India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has come out in support of Dhoni, saying that his mere presence brings a sense of calm to the dressing room.
"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 said ahead of the first ODI against Australia.
"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," he added.
Dhoni's art of finishing games has also come under the scanner lately, but Rohit said the former skipper has it in him to continue being useful with the willow.
"...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," he remarked.
Rohit also highlighted the benefit for spinners with 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," he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)