Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev on Monday (February 3) raised fresh doubts over Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future in international cricket, saying “I don’t think you can come back from anywhere” after not playing for so long.
The two-time World Cup-winning captain, who has not played since India’s semifinal loss in the World Cup in the United Kingdom, was last month dropped from the BCCI’s list of centrally contracted players.
“If you haven’t played cricket for so long then I don’t think you can come back from anywhere,” Kapil, India’s first World Cup-winning captain, told ABP News.
Kapil also felt Dhoni’s form in the IPL could be crucial.
“But he still has IPL, his form there will be important and selectors should see what is best for the country. Dhoni has done a lot for the country but when you don’t play for 6-7 months, you leave a doubt in everyone’s mind. And then that creates a lot of discussions which shouldn’t happen,” he said.
Singing a similar tune as Dev, former New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson feels that the Indian team has moved past Dhoni and already had plans in place if the former skipper didn’t return after the IPL as speculated.
“It seems like India have moved on. And they have certainly had to put their plans in place for when that (Dhoni’s retirement) happens. I have heard in the press that a lot depends on the IPL in terms of how Dhoni operates. If he is in good touch then obviously he plays, but looks like India have moved past MSD at this stage,” Hesson told PTI in an exclusive interview.
The 38-year-old’s omission from the contract list was not unexpected considering that he has not played any international cricket for months.
India head coach Ravi Shastri had said that Dhoni may soon end his ODI career but could be in contention for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad provided he does well in the IPL.
Meanwhile, India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who made his debut under Dhoni during the T20 World Cup in South Africa, was effusive in his praise for his former captain.
He said Dhoni’s calm demeanour under pressure has helped him emerge as India’s most successful captain and a role model for youngsters.
“Whole India knows MS Dhoni is the one who has been like that. It has helped him to make such good decisions on the field and now you see he is the most successful Indian captain, having all three ICC Trophies with him and many IPL titles as well,” Rohit said in a chat show Curly Tales.
“He is the best captain India has seen and there is a reason behind it and that reason is him being calm and composed under pressure situation,” he added.
Rohit said during his captaincy days Dhoni used to put the young and inexperienced bowlers at ease, getting the best out of them.
“I have seen him handle a lot of younger bowlers when they get under pressure, he goes around and puts his arm around their neck and talks to them what he needs to do and what not. You know when a younger player is being treated like that by the senior member of a team, you obviously feel confident and want to deliver for the team,” Rohit said.
Since the World Cup, Dhoni has missed the tour of the West Indies and the home series against South Africa, Bangladesh, the West Indies, Australia and the limited-overs assignments against New Zealand.
One of the biggest names in Indian cricket, Dhoni led India to two world titles the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup at home.
The veteran has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20 Internationals for India, accumulating over 17,000 runs and effecting a staggering 829 dismissals behind the stumps.
(With inputs from agencies)