India coach Ravi Shastri has once again said former captain MS Dhoni will be in contention for the 2020 T20 World Cup if he performs well in the Indian Premier League.
Speaking to CNN News 18, Shastri said Dhoni wouldn't 'impose himself' on the team, adding that his form in the IPL will decide his future.
"I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us," he said. "He has finished his Test career, he may soon end his ODI career. So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL. One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then..."
Shastri said form and experience in the middle order will be the key factors in the decision between Dhoni, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson.
"We will have to consider the person’s experience and form. They will bat in the number 5-6 position. If Dhoni plays well in IPL then he does put himself in contention."
The coach also backed Pant, who has in recent times come under the scanner for his wavering form with bat and gloves.
"Pant is just 21, how many 21 year old wicketkeepers have made 100s?" he asked. "He hasn’t dropped many catches and everyone is entitled to make mistakes. As he matures he will get better. These things don’t happen overnight. There is no question that he is a match winner. Talent is there, he is doing everything to cash in. He is working hard on his wicket-keeping."
Shastri also backed captain Virat Kohli in criticising ICC's move towards four-day Tests, while coming up with a solution: five-day Tests among top six teams, and four-day Tests for the bottom ranked ones.
"Four day Test is nonsense," he said. "If this goes on we may have limited overs Tests. There is no need to tamper with five-day Tests. If at all they want to tamper then let the top six sides play five-day Tests and the next six be allowed to play four-day Tests. If you want preserve Tests then let the top six play more against each other. You have the shorter format to popularise the game."
Shastri also said day-night Tests are a work in progress, calling on ICC to get the ball right.
"Day-night Test is still under test. I still feel that pink ball does not give any advantage to spinners, they need to get the ball right for day night. During the day you have full Tests, by night it looks like half Test.
"I still feel that you will get more people to watch Tests if you have the top six play each other (more often)."
Shastri also said the semifinal exit in the 2019 World Cup was tough to take, but stressed India are targeting at least one ICC trophy among the three lined up over the next two years.
"It was tough. We lost the match in a span of 15 minutes. But the boys have done well to bounce back, we have not lost any series yet. It's good that we are playing more T20. Helps us in preparing for the 2020 WC. We are also focusing on the ODI World Cup.
"We are targeting 3 big tournaments over the next couple of years. Test Championship, and two T20 World Cups. We are working hard, we have good work ethics, so we will try to win atleast one of the three if not all."