Head coach of the India cricket team Ravi Shastri has said MS Dhoni’s supreme fitness levels will work in his favour when it comes to T20 World Cup selection, provided the wicketkeeper-batsman has a stellar Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign in 2020.
Ravi Shastri said India are still open to welcoming back MS Dhoni to the T20I team but stressed that the World Cup-winning former captain would never want to impose himself on the team.
MS Dhoni has not played international cricket since India’s World Cup 2019 semi-final exit. He had said not to ask him questions about his international future till January 2020 during an interaction with the press last year.
Dhoni has missed limited-overs assignments in West Indies and at home but he is certain to play IPL for Chennai Super Kings.
“We had a conversation but that’s between me and MS, that’s in the dressing room. What I feel is that people must respect is he’s played non-stop in all formats of the game for a while. He’s finished playing Test match, and in all probability, hell finish one-day cricket. At his age, probably the only format hell want to play is T20 cricket which means hell have to start playing again, get back into the grooves because he’s going to play in the IPL and see how his body reacts,” Ravi Shastri told CNN News18.
“One thing about Dhoni I’ll tell you. He will never impose himself on the team, or even himself. If he feels when he comes back that something is not right, just like he quit Test cricket, which was like a bolt out of the blue.
“And if Dhoni has a stellar show in the IPL and he puts himself into the contention then why not. If a guy is performing and if a guy whos never had fitness problems in his entire career… I mean for me he’s like Kapil Dev. Kaps (Kapil) never had a problem, right through his career. Towards the end of his career also if there was one day cricketer, I am sure he would have played another two years.”
In the absence of MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant has got the backing of the selectors and the team management to keep wickets in limited-overs cricket. However, there is uncertainty around the wicketkeeper’s slot in the India XI, considering Pant’s ordinary run in the recent past.
Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson has earned call-ups to the T20I squads after some consistent performances in domestic cricket earlier this season.