The sword hangs over Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again, thanks to a passing remark by India’s chief selector MKS Prasad.
The Indian Press now has enough fodder to start a debate on the issue and put additional pressure on a hero of Indian cricket. Why can’t our selectors just shut up and let things be? If they feel Dhoni is not performing then set a timeframe for him to quit gracefully.
Why go public with irresponsible statements? If they did have a word with Dhoni then there was a need to clarify or let the thing rest. With sensationalism and cooking up theories from nothing part of the media fabric these days, this remark is sure start a long discussion on the issue.
India’s one-day record hasn’t been that good of late. Though they lie third in the ICC ODI rankings, they have been losing games at crucial junctures.
The Dhoni issue will deflect attention from improving the overall performance of the side. The Australians always handle their veterans well when it comes to retirements, barring a few instances. For example, former captains Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting were called for talks to set a plan for their retirement.
They were given a grand farewell and fans got a chance to celebrate their achievements.
However, there are many Indian cricketers who are reluctant to leave the big stage. Kapil Dev went well beyond his shelf life but quit after he became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. One feels that Sachin Tendulkar too should have quit a few Tests earlier. But he had set a timeframe which was at least a sort of redemption.
But a great player like Virendra Sehwag has just fallen by the wayside without a proper send-off. Instead of wasting time on other trivial issues, the Indian selectors must plan now if they are to win the World Cup in 2019.
They have already dropped a one-day star, Yuvraj Singh, who turns 36 in December. As expected, no explanations have been given for that. Dhoni, now, 36, will be almost 39 by the time the World Cup starts. He has slowed down a bit and by 2019, may have even retired.
With young Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings, the selectors would do well to spell out their future plans instead of putting pressure on one India’s best-ever cricketer and captain.
If Dhoni has to go, give him a timeframe and let the fans know. Don’t demean a cricketer of his stature by issuing ultimatums on his place.
But then the Board of Control for Cricket in India is an arrogant body whose only aim is to make money by hook or by crook. One cannot expect vision from them. They have made the India cap cheap over the years by giving them to ordinary cricketers to make up zonal numbers.
Knowing what Dhoni really is, he may well quit sooner than later. He is a harsh critic of his own abilities.
So don’t be surprised if you see the last of Dhoni this season itself.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them