Former India batting legend Sunil Gavaskar spoke in support of MS Dhoni, who recently made a return to T20I squad against New Zealand to get more games before the ICC World Cup 2019.
Dhoni was out of the T20I squad as Indian selectors wanted to try Rishabh Pant in last two shorter format series.
Dhoni's return to T20I squad hints that there are maximum chances he will play the upcoming 2019 World Cup. Gavaskar thinks it's the right call to select the veteran Indian wicket-keeper in the mega tournament. He is also backing Pant to join the squad, but not by replacing Dhoni.
"If Rishab Pant does well and keeps his form, he can find a place for his batting. He is a left-handed batsman and that helps add variety to the batting line-up. So although Pant is not picked for the ODIs currently if he does exceedingly well in T20Is, he could come back," he told India Today.
Gavaskar knows how well Dhoni deals with the situations waiting for team India in the World Cup 2019. He wants India to go with him anyhow. "Dhoni has the big match temperament. As a keeper, he is a big help to captain Kohli in terms of field placements and bowlers' performance feedback. So he is necessary. And since the World Cup 2019 is going to be his last, he should be given the honor and recognition for all the services he has offered with a World Cup place," he added.
The 69-year-old has shown surprise on KL Rahul's selection. He feels Rahul should not be in ODI squad.
"Rahul's selection is a surprise. It's ok to pick him for T20Is because he has got runs in the IPL. But as far as one-day cricket goes, he hasn't played much at all. Maybe they have kept him as a back up if one of the openers were to be injured," he said.
Before the 2019 World Cup, Gavaskar wants India to find another seeming all-rounder as the tournament will be played in England.
"We have to bear in mind where the World Cup is happening. It's happening in England and so you will need another seaming all-rounder. That's what can give the team a better balance," he said.
India has Hardik Pandya as an all-rounder for English conditions, apart from him, Indian skipper Virat Kohli may not have more options. Gavaskar thinks India should search for a quality all-rounder and try them when Australia tours India next year.
"When Australia comes to India, more all-around options can be explored. Because if you look at Ranji trophy performances; I would not like to name but there are two or three names who have performed well and they should also be considered.
"I hope the selection committee is going around the country and watching matches and they have three or four players on their radar who's matches they should watch which helps them judge if they can handle the pressure and provide that additional option," he stated.
(With India Today Inputs)