India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has echoed the voice of his fellow team-mate Rohit Sharma when asked about his opinion on veteran wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni’s future in the limited-overs team.
For quite a while now Dhoni’s place in India’s T20I team has been under the scanner as the Jharkhand man takes a bit of time to settle down at the crease. However, Dhoni often gets the backing of his team-mates and head coach Ravi Shastri.
Recently, Mumbai batsman Rahane highlighted the importance of having MS Dhoni in the team and has supported the 36-year-old to continue representing the country in the limited overs format.
"Definitely MS Dhoni has cricket left in him. He is taking care of his fitness, he is looking after his body, he is looking after his diet I mean and also his advices on the field to Virat is such a big difference," Rahane said in an interview with India Today.
"And he has a skill and he is so experienced that he has actually seen everything. I feel he is the guy and we are lucky to have him in our team. His advice means a lot to us, it taught us a lot and he definitely has cricket left in him," he further added while emphasizing on the significance of Dhoni.
After whitewashing the Sri Lankans in the T20I series, stand-in India skipper Rohit Sharma has also come out in support of MSD by saying that the World Cup winning Indian captain still brings a lot to the table.
“In recent times, his performance has been no less than that of any other player in the team,” Rohit had told India Today.
“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 had elaborated.
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.
Dhoni has been in exceptional form with the bat this year (2017), scoring 788 runs in 29 ODIs at an average of 60.61 with one hundred and six half-centuries. In 13 T20 internationals the wicket-keeper batsman has amassed 252 runs at an average of 42 with a highest score of 56.