Bengaluru: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has not played for India since the team’s semi-final loss at the ICC World Cup 2019 against New Zealand on July 9. It is still not clear whether he will return to the national team. Now, head coach Ravi Shastri has given his views on the former skipper’s future.
It is exactly three months since Dhoni played cricket. He had opted out of the West Indies tour to serve in the Indian Army. He was not picked for the home T20Is against South Africa and the BCCI selection panel chief MSK Prasad had said that he was still “unavailable” for national duty.
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India are currently involved in a three-Test series for the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy against South Africa. They won the first game in Visakhapatnam and will play the second contest in Pune from tomorrow (October 10).
After the Test victory against the Proteas, Shastri was asked about Dhoni’s future and the coach praised the wicketkeeper-batsman.
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“He will go down as one of our greatest players, very, very high up the list,” Shastri told The Hindu.
“Whether he wants to come back, that’s for him to decide. I have not met him after the World Cup. He has to first start playing and let’s see how things go. I don’t think he has started playing after the World Cup. If he is keen, he will definitely let the selectors know,” he added.
Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014. So far he has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is. The 38-year-old was criticised for his slow batting during this year’s World Cup in England and Wales. However, captain Virat Kohli had defended him.
Recently, former India captain Anil Kumble had said Dhoni deserves a proper send-off whenever he decides to quit the game.
"I'm not really sure. I think (Rishabh) Pant has certainly made a lot of claims as a keeper-batsman, especially in the T20 format. So, it's important to have a conversation and you need to have a proper send-off, he certainly deserves that,” Kumble had said in an interview.