Will Dhoni play for India again? Has he retired?
If you are an Indian cricket fan, these questions must have bothered you since India crashed out of the ODI World Cup in 2019. After all, it is MS Dhoni, the man who got India two World Cups. But the answer to these questions, as of now, are with one person and one person only – Dhoni himself.
Unaware of any details or developments, the common fan can only speculate and the postponement of the IPL due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only served to lengthen the wait for a definitive answer.
However, if Dhoni were to make a comeback, here’s how the road maps out for him.
IPL – The future decider
It’s been ten months since we saw the former Indian captain don the Indian jersey. The last time fans saw Mahi on the field in the famed Blue shirt was during India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup in the semifinals against New Zealand. In fact, it was Dhoni’s run out just after he got to his 50 that eventually sealed India’s fate in the competition.
After a long hiatus, the ace cricketer was slated to return to cricketing action with this year’s Indian Premier League. The showcase event was supposed to be the Jharkhand-based cricketer’s proving ground to book his slot in the national team for the upcoming WT20. He had started training with the Chennai Super Kings and looked in great touch according to the team’s bowling coach, Laxmipathy Balaji.
Optimistic fans and pessimistic detractors knew IPL was the platform MS needed to prove whether or not he still has the dexterity that warrants a place in the senior team. But with the T20 tournament postponed indefinitely, the uncertainty over his comeback has shot back into the limelight.
Cricketers who made a comeback
The postponement of IPL 2020, however, does not rule out the possibility of a potential comeback, especially for the World T20 scheduled in October later this year. We have seen players who have made it to the Indian team despite being out of action for a long time.
A similar situation arose during India’s World Cup-winning campaign of 2011. India played 27 ODIs in the year before the World Cup and Sachin Tendulkar featured in just four matches. The Little Master, suffering from a hamstring injury, was absent for a major portion of the team’s preparation for the World Cup. But the selectors had faith in the cricketer’s abilities and prowess to name him in the squad for the big tournament.
Similarly, Dhoni’s stats and feats are a testament to his talent and make a strong case for his selection in the Indian team.
Whom will he replace?
Ever since Dhoni went on a sabbatical, the Indian team has aimed to fill the gaping void left by him. The team now has two able wicket-keepers in KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, with the former certainly having cemented his place in the squad.
Rahul has transformed into a batting maestro with his consistency at home and overseas even when batting at unfamiliar positions like number 3 or 4. His glove-work might not be as great as MSD’s but he comes with the valuable experience of keeping wickets for Karnataka.
Considering the current line-up of the Indian team, it looks uncertain if MSD will be able to make his long-awaited return. But the Men in Blue could always use a calculative mind like Dhoni’s to bolster their chances at the T20 World Cup. After all, he is the one who got India not one but two World Cups.
By Sportz Interactive