During the recently concluded limited-overs series between India and Sri Lanka, India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma led the home side in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli and began his captaincy stint with a 2-1 ODI series and 3-0 T20I series wins.
Following his successful spell as Indian captain, Rohit has highlighted the significance of former Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s services in the team. For quite some time, Dhoni was under the scrutiny for his rather circumspect approach in Twenty-20 internationals. However, it all changed during the first T20I against Sri Lanka in Cuttack recently as the wicket-keeper batsman was promoted up the order by the team management and he delivered it with a quick fire 39 off 22 balls.
“In recent times, his performance has been no less than that of any other player in the team,” Rohit told Aaj Tak.
“You could see for yourself how [Jasprit] Bumrah, Kuldeep [Yadav], [Yuzvendra] Chahal or any other bowler seek Dhoni’s advice. Standing behind the stumps, he (Dhoni) knows what the bowler is trying to do.”
“Thus, he brings a lot to the table which many cannot understand. His inputs to bowlers are so important. He has won so many tournaments for India. His experience is huge. He is still in the team as a leader. He continues to guide all the boys and his inputs are valuable,” he further added.
Rohit also recalled how each and every player in the current Indian team has started their careers under Dhoni’s captaincy and the Jharkhand man has backed the youngsters in the early stages of their careers.
“We started playing cricket under the leadership of MS Dhoni. He stood by us when there was nobody. He has guided and helped so many youngsters. He knows how to take the team out of difficult situations. By virtue of his experience, he reads the situations perfectly,” Sharma remarked.
Earlier this week, India’s chief selector MSK Prasad has made it clear that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will continue to play till the 2019 World Cup as some of the younger keepers, who have been tried, are not even close to the former Indian captain's level.
"We are grooming some wicketkeepers during India A tours. But more or less, we have fixed up (our) minds till the World Cup (on continuing with Dhoni) and after that at later stages we will start grooming some of those (wicket- keepers)," Prasad had said while addressing the media after announcing the Indian ODI squad for South Africa tour.
"I think MS Dhoni still remains the No 1 wicket-keeper in the world and day in and day out we have been saying this. In the current T20 series (against Sri Lanka), the stumpings he has effected and caught-behind he has taken are phenomenal," he further added.
India ODI squad for South Africa tour:
Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur