Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Oct 2018 12:42:07

THE national selectors have dropped Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the finest cricketers India has produced, from the forthcoming T20 Internationals against touring West Indies and also the Australian tour. Could that be the signal for MSD, as he is popularly called, to take a call on his future? This in spite of the fact that selectors are never tired of assuring that Dhoni is the first choice wicket-keeper till the World Cup. But his dropping from the T20 and Australian tour means he will be out of action for a very long time and would not have much of a practice. With the domestic engagements like the Deodhar Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournaments coming to a close, at domestic level too he will have little engagement. Then how would he fit into the squad for the World Cup, is a question and therefore raises doubts over the assertion that he will be the first choice wicket-keeper. 

With Rishabh Pant doing duty behind the wickets with reasonable assurance and making most of his batting talent in the current ODI series, Dhoni’s place in the team has become rather shaky. Notwithstanding his abilities as one of the finest wicket-keepers in the game, lately Dhoni’s batting prowess appears to have deserted him. That Dhoni has scored just 71 runs in the last six games does no good to his position and reputation as the great finisher in the game. It is this loss of batting prowess of Dhoni lately that has forced the selectors to look for an alternative who would, besides doing duty as the wicket-keeper, also be a dependable middle order batsman, a place that Dhoni has been occupying with great panache so far.

In the past the selectors had looked to Dinesh Kartik and even Parthiv Patel, both of whom have been prolific run getters in domestic tournaments. But with Dhoni around, they had got occasional chance to don the national colours. But whenever they got the chance they failed to make lasting impression on the selectors and their stay at the top always remained uncertain. Now the selectors are looking to Rishabh Pant as the probable replacement to step into the big boots of MS Dhoni, such have been the standards MSD has set for his successors.

Dhoni is known to keep his counsel close to his chest. His decision to quit as the captain of the Test team in the middle of a tour took everybody by surprise and the quiet and cool manner in which he arrived at the big decision. And later also the captainship of shorter version of the game. Nobody knows if the decision of the selectors to drop him from the T20 series and Australian tour prompts him to hang his boots finally, a prospect that should not come in this manner. The great man deserves much better deal for his services to Indian cricket.