Amid speculation that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is contemplating retirement, former national selector Sanjay Jagdale on Friday said the MSK Prasad-led selection panel should find out what was going on in the veteran wicket-keeper’s mind about his future, PTI reported.
However, Jagdale, a former Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary, asserted that Dhoni was mature enough to take a call on his retirement from limited-overs cricket.
The 38-year-old, whose finishing abilities with the bat has been on the wane, would be the centre of discussion when the national selection committee meets in Mumbai on Sunday to pick up squads for the West Indies series starting next month.
“Dhoni is a great player and has always selflessly played for India. In my opinion, the Indian team currently has no viable alternative to Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman,” Jagdale said.
There is intense speculation that Dhoni is mulling retirement. Thus, Dhoni’s selection or omission for the West Indies tour would be an indicator of things to come in the future.
Jadgale added, “Dhoni is mature enough to take a decision on his retirement. But the selectors should meet him to find out what is going on in his mind about his professional future as was done in the case of Sachin Tendulkar before his retirement.”
“The selectors should also inform Dhoni in what capacity they want to see him in the future.”
Dhoni was criticised for not picking up the pace during the World Cup, where India’s campaign ended in the semi-finals against New Zealand. The 68-year-old, though, said the former India captain played as per the situation.
“Dhoni played in the World Cup as per the team’s requirement,” he said.
“In the semi-final also he was batting as per the same strategy but unfortunately he got run out at a crucial moment.”
Jagdale also hit back at Dhoni’s critics. “It is not expected from a 38-year-old player to play with the same energy and vigour that he displayed in his prime days. Even those players are criticising him who have not played well in their career. However, only true players know Dhoni’s worth.”
However, Jagdale said young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant should be given chances to prove his mettle. “Before the World Cup, Pant should have been included in the ODI team alongside Dhoni as Pant could have learned from him,” said Jagdale.
Pant was not in the World Cup squad, but was called as a replacement for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan.