MS Dhoni is here. MS Dhoni is there. He is nowhere near the Indian team, not in the dressing room, not on the ground and yet he is everywhere and in everything that concerns Indian cricket.
We haven’t seen MS Dhoni turn out for Team India ever since his heartbreaking run-out in an equally heartbreaking World Cup semi-final against the Kiwis. He withdrew from the succeeding tour of the Caribbean in order to spend some time training for the armed forces.
And, so when, on the morning of the team’s selection for the South Africa series Virat Kohli posted a throwback to that epic 2016 World Twenty20 game at Mohali against Australia where he and Dhoni ran like they were possessed to lead India to an epic win in the virtual quarter-final, mayhem ensued everywhere.
A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test 😄 @msdhoni 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/pzkr5zn4pG
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) September 12, 2019
Writers started fine-tuning the drafts they’ve long saved, anticipating an imminent Dhoni retirement. Fans started trending MS on social media while journalists waited for the announcement of a possible press-conference.
Ok , I am prepared.
I won't cry.
Tears rolling down already. 😭#Dhoni
— Neel Patel (@NeelPatel189) September 12, 2019
17000+ Runs- As Batsman
800+ Dismissals- As wicket Keeper
3 ICC Trophies- As Captain
Truely a Legend #Dhoni pic.twitter.com/NBJH1bqNez
— Trilok Singh.🇮🇳 (@singhtrilok7) September 12, 2019
The press-conference never happened and the selectors informed in the team selection presser that Dhoni wasn’t available for selection for South Africa and Bangladesh T20I series. Dhoni, making himself unavailable sparked debate and since then several former cricketers have voiced their opinion about the former captains’ decision.
Gambhir has his say on Dhoni’s unavailability and impending retirement
The latest to join the bandwagon is two-time World Champion Gautam Gambhir. The former opener feels that the Indian selectors should speak to Dhoni about his future plans, as he feels one can’t be picking and choosing which series to play for his country.
“I have always said that the decision to retire is anyone’s personal call. I feel the selectors should talk to Dhoni and ask him about his plans because if you play for India, you cannot select the series you want to play,” Gambhir said as quoted by News 18.
The former Indian opener also felt that the team management including the captain and the coach should be patient with precocious talent like Rishabh Pant and felt that the southpaw should be backed fully.
“I feel if you focus solely on a young player, who has been in the international arena for just around a year, he will feel the pressure. In such a short time, he (Pant) has smashed two Test tons,” Gambhir said. If you don’t find his shot selections ideal, it is his style of play. If you give him a chance in the team then kindly back him and it is wrong to criticize him so early.
Currently, under the line of fire due to poor shot selection and measly returns in white-ball cricket, Rishabh Pant had a breakout start to his Test career last year where he went on to become the first wicketkeeper from the country to score a hundred in England and Australia, and Gambhir felt both Kohli and Shastri should talk personally to Pant and guide the youngster in this period of adversity.
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