Uncertainty and lack of control is something MS Dhoni never liked and yet, at the twilight of his reign in International cricket, he will have to embrace it, at least in the immediate future ahead of the World Cup next year.
Late night on Friday, October 26, chief selector MSK Prasad announced India's squad for the three T20Is series against West Indies as well as for the one in Australia before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and MS Dhoni's absence struck everyone by surprise.
The selection committee has shown first signs of trying to clarify the future for MS Dhoni in Indian Cricket and perhaps, dropping him from the T20Is is a wise decision towards that objective.
"It's a given that Dhoni won't be around when next ICC World T20 happens in Australia in 2020. So, there wasn't any point continuing with him if he will not play World T20," a BCCI source, close to the development, said, "Obviously, the selectors and team management had a good deliberation on this issue. Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were present at the selection committee meeting," and stressed, "You think selectors could have gone ahead without their approval?."
Prasad also confirmed that while it is not the end of the road for Dhoni in the shortest format, India is definitely looking at alternatives, which promoting someone like Rishabh Pant clearly suggests.
"If Pant plays well and Dhoni's inconsistent run continues, would you still call him a certainty for World Cup? On what basis?" one former International player questioned, though and said, "The lack of game time has been pretty evident this year. I don't know maybe he is thinking that from January till World Cup, he will be playing a lot of games including IPL for CSK and he doesn't need practice."
India next plays ODIs in January, so there is a 3-month gap between the final game of the ongoing series against West Indies on November 1 and the first ODI in Australia on January 12. That's plenty of time to contemplate and decide, for someone as wise as MS Dhoni.
One of the most difficult challenges of analysing sport has been to gauge what's going on in the great man's mind and hence, you can't help but feel, nothing can be taken for granted yet.
There's always been a narrative with MS Dhoni, there has to be one here.
(Inputs from PTI)