During the recently concluded three-match ODI series between India and England, MS Dhoni’s batting approach had become the talk of the town. Following India’s 86-run defeat in the second ODI against England at Lord’s, there were questions being raised over Dhoni’s turtle-paced innings (37 runs off 59 balls). The wicketkeeper batsman faced the same wrath for his 66-ball 42 as India lost the series-deciding ODI at Headingley.
After the third ODI, a video clip of Dhoni taking the ball from the umpire had emerged out which led to the speculation in social media that the veteran campaigner might hang up his boots from international cricket.
However, former India selector Sandeep Patil recently busted all sorts of myth concerning Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket.
In his latest column for The Quint, Sandeep wrote: "What’s most interesting about career spans of cricketers are the retirement speculation reports. The latest target of these ‘reports’ seems to be MS Dhoni. I have known him very closely for the last 14 years and I am privileged to have seen him when he was just starting his career. I have worked with him as an India A coach and as a chief selector, and he happens to be a very dear friend of mine now. I can assure all his fans that he is not retiring as of now."
After impressing one and all in the Indian Premier League 2018, Rishabh Pant was recently named in India’s squad for the first three Tests against England. Moreover, Dinesh Karthik’s rapid rise has also made the wicketkeeping debate interesting.
While Sandeep Patil is happy for Rishabh and Karthik, he still reckons that Dhoni is the first-choice keeper for India in World Cup 2019.
"Many people may not agree with me but I will still pick Dhoni as the first choice wicket-keeper for the World Cup next year. The reason simply is that in the shorter format of the game, Dhoni’s ability behind the stumps is of far more importance than his match-finishing skills. Dhoni has been above par behind the stumps for India for many years and he will try to do the same till he hangs his gloves," Patil remarked.
"Apart from Virender Sehwag, all recent greats who have played for more than 10 years have made changes to their batting or bowling approach and we have accepted the same, so why not do the same for Dhoni? Why not accept that Dhoni is a far greater asset to the team as a keeper than as a match-finishing batsman?," he concluded.