Get the app

Is Time Up for MS Dhoni? – Who Said What Since the World Cup Semi-final

Nonetheless Dhoni’s future has been a much discussed topic since the semi-final in Manchester and there have questions and answers aplenty.

Cricketnext Staff |January 16, 2020, 9:03 PM IST
Is Time Up for MS Dhoni? – Who Said What Since the World Cup Semi-final

Since being unable to carry India home against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final, MS Dhoni has been on an extended sabbatical from the game. The veteran, who understandably regrets not having dived on the day to avoid being run out, has now been dropped from the BCCI central contracts 2019/20 (October-September) and talk about his retirement has resurfaced.

He has missed the tour of the West Indies and the home series against South Africa, Bangladesh, the West Indies and the ongoing one against Australia. While Dhoni has deflected questions about retirement and asked to not hear off it before January, he is very much expected to captain Chennai Super Kings in the 2020 IPL, a tournament that could help him route a comeback before the T20 World Cup.

Nonetheless Dhoni’s future has been a much discussed topic since the semi-final in Manchester and there have questions and answers aplenty.

Right after the World Cup, out-going Selection Chief MSK Prasad had said that the future had been discussed. India were on their way to play West Indies and Dhoni, who holds an honorary post of Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute regiment of the Territorial Army, had requested for a 2-month break as he wanted to join the para regiment. Dhoni had made this commitment before the World Cup.

"We did discuss with him [Dhoni's future]. Retirement is purely individual (decision). A legendary cricketer like Dhoni, he knows when to retire. What is the future course of action, that is in the hands of the selection committee. I don’t think we need to discuss anything more on it. First of all he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming youngsters,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said at the media conference to announce the squad for the West Indies.

Once India came back and South Africa came calling, Dhoni, now back from his stint with the army, was left out once again. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly backed the selection committee saying that looking ahead and planning for the future was the correct thing to do.

Another Former India captain and coach Anil Kumble, speaking exclusively to CricketNext in September, had called on the selectors to clearly communicate with Dhoni about his place in their future scheme of things, especially with the T20 World Cup in Australia just over a year away. Kumble had said that while he “wouldn’t look back” when asked if Dhoni should continue to be part of the team, he advocated a “proper conversation” take place between the player and the selectors.

“I think the selectors will have a take a call as to which is the likely team that you'd want in the World Cup because the World Cup is just a year away,” Kumble said. “You'd want a consistent team to be playing right throughout and that's exactly what didn't happen in the 50-over competition.”

“MS Dhoni certainly deserves a proper send-off, whenever he decides to move on from the sport. But for the team's sake, the selectors need to sit down and have a discussion around what the plans are because it's important that things be communicated. If the selectors believe that Dhoni is in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup then I think he should be playing every game. If he's not, then it's important that they have a discussion around how they need to make this happen. I think they need to do that in the next couple of months.”

Kohli Dhoni

A day before the T20I series against South Africa was to begin, India captain Virat Kohli Kohli had tweeted a picture of him sitting on his hunches after beating Australia in a league game of the 2016 World T20 in Mohali. Kohli scored 82 not out on that night but his running between the wickets with Dhoni (18 not out) was a treat to watch for everyone.

"A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test," Kohli had tweeted. Of course it led to the rumour mills going overdrive till chairman of selectors MSK Prasad termed it as "false news". Kohli later cleared the air saying there was no cryptic message in his post.

In October Dhoni spoke publicly for the first time in a commercial appearance about his philosophy. A few days later former captain Sourav Ganguly took over as BCCI President and faced a barrage of questions about his former teammate’s future. Ganguly made it amply clear that there would be no place for disrespect.

At Ganguly’s first selection meeting, Dhoni’s future was discussed and while the President did not comment, the selection committee said, "We are moving on, we are very clear. Post World Cup we have been clear. We definitely had a chat with Dhoni and he also endorses our view of backing youngsters," Prasad said after announcing the squads for the series against Bangladesh.

All of the talk about Dhoni’s future did not impress coach Ravi Shastri. “Half the guys commenting on MS Dhoni can't even tie their shoelaces. Look at what he's achieved for the country. Why are people in a hurry to see him off? Maybe, they don't find enough talking points. He and everybody who knows him know he'll be going away soon. So, let it happen when it has to. Making statements at his expense is downright disrespectful. After 15 years of playing for India, wouldn't he know what's the right thing to do? He's been a shadow when it comes to the team, always sharing his mind, lending his views,” he told Times of India.

“I don't think he is too keen on the one-day stuff. He is finished with Test cricket. T20 is an option. It's a format that is tailor-made for him. But will his body be able to cope with the demands, only he will answer," Shastri had told India Today. "If he decides to play, which he will because he will play the IPL, then he will start training with a very fresh mind. Then you have got to see form," said Shastri, who also said that no one should "fool around" if the legend decided to play the T20 World Cup.

India saw off Bangladesh at home with the historic Pink-ball Test becoming the talk of town then. Dhoni meanwhile had quietly hit the nets with Jharkhand U-23 side.

When in November, Ganguly was asked to comment on Shastri's reported remarks that IPL 2020 will give a clear picture on Dhoni's future, he said: "We will see what happens, there's enough time. Of course it will get clear (within three months)."

Ganguly said there was "absolute clarity" among the team think-tank on how to deal with Dhoni's future. "No no, there is clarity, but certain things cannot be said on public platform. There is absolute clarity on MS Dhoni and you'll find out in time," Ganguly had said.

Speaking after giving the 26th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial lecture, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar weighed in on Dhoni’s future saying, "I think the question that needs to be asked is of MSD himself. He has not made himself available to play for India since July 10. That is the important point. Does anyone keep himself away from playing for India for that long? That is the question and therein lies the answer," Gavaskar told reporters.

Days before the BCCI Contracts kicked up the storm about Dhoni’s future, Shastri spoke exclusively 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..."

Will he or won’t he? and when? The saga is likely to continue for a while until Dhoni decides to put the fire out.

Related stories

Also Watch

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7364 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
see more