Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Why Questioning the Aura of MS Dhoni is a Blunder?
“We don’t say it as an automatic this thing but we will see. We are all stakeholders. We all want the Indian team to do well. If he is delivering, why not? If he (MS Dhoni) is not, we will have to look at alternatives.”
These words recently mouthed from the chief of Indian selectors and former wicketkeeper MSK Prasad, seldom make sense about the likely course of action ahead for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The views of Prasad, where he mentions the need to assess ideal alternatives in case the legendary wicketkeeper isn’t performing, are a complete mismatch, to what the ideal preparations for the 2019 World Cup should be.
At 36, it’s fair to say that Dhoni is probably in the evening of his career and doesn’t have many years left in him. But one also needs to first address the fact that even at this age, there is absolutely no question marks raised over the fitness of Dhoni. Despite being the senior most member of the side in terms of age and experience, Dhoni’s fitness is second to none, and being a wicketkeeper, this aspect holds colossal value. For a wicketkeeper, the main job is to squat and stand behind the stumps throughout the fifty overs, and when the turn to bat comes, bail the time out of a crisis.
Dhoni now for the last 13 years, has fulfilled this task with utmost pride and grace and churned out match winning performances for the team every single team. It’s a shame that despite being a wicketkeeper himself, Prasad has to doubt on what Dhoni has to offer in the lead up to the 2019 ICC World Cup in England. Instead, Prasad should be the person completely backing Dhoni to make it to that flight to England 21 months later, as only w wicketkeeper can truly gauge the precise caliber of another wicketkeeper.
In the second ODI, any person doubting the great keeper batsman was in for another surprise when Dhoni along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar calmly sealed off an unlikely chase for the team. Not many teams see the other side of the horizon when the target is still 100 runs adrift and just three wickets are in the bank, out of which two are walking wickets. Last night was the most precise instance of what Dhoni brings to the table for this Virat Kohli led Indian team.
He might no longer play those excessively extravagant drives which lead up to a stunning pose worthy follow through, but rather, Dhoni is now more of the guiding light for the side. He can play calm and composed knocks in derelict circumstances and bail the team out of a crisis like situation without too much fuss. Such is the aura of the great man and despite all this, you have people doubting and questioning his longevity. The aspect is more saddening to realize that it is the chief selector himself, who openly has to say all this in front of the media.
For every team, there are bound to be numerous protocols regarding what to divulge in the media and what not. The words from Prasad should nowhere be near to what a person of his stature should say in public. Instead, he should have a word with the captain and keep such discussions behind closed doors, and not bounce them off in public. Just imagine the trauma a newcomer has to go through because of these words from Prasad. If the selectors are willing to let Dhoni, make no mistake, among the greatest ODI players of all time, just like that, then how easily will the same people dump a talented youngster, before even he gets a chance to spread his wings in international cricket?
The fact remains, that even at this moment, there is no wicketkeeper in the Indian cricketing fraternity close to MS Dhoni. Dhoni as a keeper batsman in ODI offers countless pros to the outfit. His presence in itself is an immortal aura which rejuvenates the side like nothing else. Behind the stumps, he remains safe as a house and his gloves, the epitome of success.
Batting wise too, the former skipper averages in excess of 60 this year and after knowing that, one just has to wonder that what more does Dhoni need to do to convince the selectors. Fitness, form, wicketkeeping, experience are all in Dhoni’s favor, then why is there the uncalled for the desire to have an alternative in his place.
To sum it up, it is sternly said that MS Dhoni should very much remain an integral unit of Team India for the 2019 World Cup. Given what he brings to the table for the side, his presence in itself is a morale booster and being a champion, one can expect Dhoni to unleash his class in the near future.
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