MS Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since India’s semifinal exit from the ODI World Cup in July. He has missed the tour of the West Indies and the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh.
During his time away from international cricket, many wondered if India was nearing the end of the Dhoni era, but that does not seem to be likely at least for now.
India coach Ravi Shastri, who has been one of MS Dhoni’s strongest supporters against critics, said he would wait till the Indian Premier League (IPL) to see how the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain performs.
The coach mentioned that the IPL 2020 would help the team management in finalizing the squad.
“It all depends on when he (MS Dhoni) starts playing and how he is playing during the IPL. What are the other people doing with the wicket-keeping gloves, or what is the form of those players as opposed to Dhoni’s form? The IPL becomes a massive tournament because that could be the last tournament, after which more or less your 15 is decided,” Shastri was quoted as saying by IANS.
“There might be one player who might be there and thereabouts in case of an injury or whatever.
“But your team, I would say, would be known after the IPL. What I would say is rather than speculating of who is where wait for the IPL to get over and then you are in a position to take a call on who are the best 17 in the country,” the coach added.
The Indian team management have been backing Rishabh Pant to fill Dhoni’s boots, but the youngster has struggled to make the most of his opportunities after a weak string of performances. Shastri, though, said the management would back Pant to the hilt despite his inconsistency.
“You are bound to make mistakes, but as long as you sit down and think about ways to rectify those mistakes, you know that is what this game will teach you. You are not going to be a superstar in one day. You will have your ups and your downs. That is life, but the more you work harder, the more sacrifices you make, the better the Pant will become,” he said.