M.S.K. Prasad, chief selectors of BCCI, on Sunday stated that they are grooming Rishabh Pant but did not state anything about the team management’s request to MS Dhoni to take a step back from his retirement decision. India is all set for its West Indies cricket tour which starts from 3 August. While Shikhar Dhawan joins the tour after completely recovering from his thumb injury, Hardik Pandya will not be joining the journey.
The sources revealed that the management do not wish Dhoni to step back as the lack of an experienced player might lead to a huge loss in case Pant suffers an injury. The management, who thinks the other players cannot match even half of Dhoni’s talent, expects that Dhoni is aware of his position and importance in the team and is ethical enough not to respond to any such controversies regarding his retirement.
Yes, it is true that Pant is going to be the future of cricket but is it possible without Dhoni’s guidance?
Prasad explains that they have planned a roadmap till the World Cup and the plan is to give Pant enough opportunities to groom himself. Pant will be playing in all the three formats while Wriddhiman Saha will remain Pant’s understudy. There seems to be much more behind the scenes of Dhoni’s retirement than is portrayed but the management denies giving any statement on it.
The two time World Cup-winning captain has not yet officially announced his retirement, the selectors say it will be solely his own decision. Sandeep Patil, former National Selection committee chairman, says that Dhoni should retire now but if he thinks himself fit, “he has every right to stake his claims”. The wicketkeeper-batsman has earned huge respect since the time he made his mind-blowing debt. His fans don’t want Dhoni to go.
Though Dhoni pulled out from the tour announcing his decision to BCCI prior to the meeting of the selection committee, technically Dhoni is on the field until he makes an official announcement, the sources say that he is merely taking a two-month rest to fulfill his commitment to serve the paramilitary regiment. The BCCI official confirmed: “Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the tour od West Indies as he will be spending two months with his paramilitary regiment.” The senior official added, “we have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli”.
Dhoni has already retired from test matches and it seems that his last ODI was the World Cup in which team India was knocked out in semi finale. While Gautam Gambhir, former Indian opener, says that retirement is a “practical decision” as younger players should get equal opportunity, Bharat Arun still says that the players were all confident during the World Cup journey till Dhoni was there.
It is pretty evident that Dhoni, who is 38 now, has no plans to enter the 2023 World Cup. As the 20-year old has proved his talent in the Indian Premier League, its time for him to say goodbye to cricket as his presence might hinder the chances of growth for such young players. Dhoni himself did the same in the 2012 CB series to eliminate senior players to prepare a team for winning the 2015 World Cup.