“MS Dhoni Retirement” has been a staple topic of discussion for the last few weeks. But what is the truth behind talks? We find out…
World Cup Semi-final! 31 off 12 – Billions of Indians, who had cursed him not so long ago for “not showing the intent” against England, were now hoping for one more miracle from the great man. Could he pull a rabbit out of the hat one more time? Could he replicate the magic of 2011 World Cup final? Things certainly started well with a six off the first ball. But THAT freak throw from Martin Guptill ended India’s World Cup campaign. Billions of hearts broke, not probably because India had been knocked out of the World Cup, but because team’s greatest ever finishers had fallen in the most cruel manner. What an anti climax! Yes, we are talking about MS Dhoni himself!
The constant retirement talks and pressure from the media are not new for the former Indian captain. But this time it is a little different. The Indian Cricket team has failed at the semi-final hurdle for the second time in a row. A young and exciting Rishabh Pant is being considered as Dhoni’s perfect replacement by many. But worst of all, our very own Mahi just turned 38, which means he will be 42 by the time the next World Cup arrives in 2023.
So what exactly is happening here? Will MS Dhoni really retire? Here is everything you need to know about MS Dhoni retirement:
Numbers Don’t Lie
For a man with 10,000 plus runs and an ODI average of more than 50 with an experience of pulling India out of trouble on numerous occasions, Dhoni’s stats have definitely changed a lot over the last few years.
Due to his slow start to the innings, Dhoni’s strike rate in 2018 was just 71.42 and 82.3 in 2019 so far. Regarded as the best finisher in the limited-overs cricket by many, Dhoni is also starting to have trouble finishing the game off. A man who once had a career average and strike rate in triple digits during chases averaged just 25 in chases in 2018 with a strike rate of 64.43.
Having said that, Dhoni scored 273 runs in 8 innings in the recently concluded World Cup with an average of 45. That was more than Hardik Pandya, who is supposed to be the next finisher for the team. And not to forget, both Pandya and Pant played horrible shots to throw away their wickets in the semi-final.
So the real question is, does the Indian team have it in them to replace MS Dhoni if he decides to retire? Is it the legendary wicket-keeper who needs to keep playing or is it the Indian team which still needs him?
The Media, oh the Media!
Media doesn’t really look into “who needs who” when it comes to spicy news like this. The topic of MS Dhoni retirement has been a hot topic of discussion, and media, unsurprisingly, has decided to cash in on. However, there doesn’t seem to be a unison between the media houses over MS Dhoni’s “reported” future so far. A source has reportedly told TOI that Dhoni has already played his last World Cup and won’t be a part of the upcoming West Indies tour.
But the 38-year old will help the Indian team in the smooth transition to replace him in the squad. Dhoni will reportedly be a part of the 15 but not actually the playing XI, as he will groom Rishabh Pant for the future. The plan is to get the 21-year fir and ready in time for the 2020 T20 World Cup.
The squad for the West Indies series will be picked on 19th July with still no confirmed news about Dhoni’s future. The likes of Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah are likely to be rested for the Windies tour so even if Dhoni is not named in the squad, it will be difficult to guess the real reason behind it.
If Dhoni IS ‘rested’ for the upcoming tour, Rishabh Pant will definitely be the first choice wicket-keeper batsman for India.
MS Dhoni Retirement after the 2020 T20 World Cup?
Dhoni’s childhood coach Keshav Banerjee feels that MS should play until the T20 World Cup in Australia. “I believe Mahi should carry on playing in the T20 format. ODIs are quite demanding with 50 overs of wicket-keeping and then batting. That is very tough on the body. Then there is the added pressure of helping out bowlers and fielders, so he is always in the thick of the action. Whereas in T20 it’s shorter and more direct (slam-bang),”
“Dhoni’s current fitness levels show that he is good enough to play in the shortest format of the game. I think he can play in the next T20 World Cup and then take a call on his future,”
But the fact remains that Dhoni has not made any contact with BCCI about his future just yet. And no one knows if the great man will keep playing in ODIs or T20 or both or simply hang up his boots.
Former Cricketers and Celebrities Comment
MS Dhoni might not have decided anything about his future yet. But a number of former cricketers and celebrities have commented on Dhoni’s retirement conundrum.
“Well, you have to have courage and conviction. It’s the job of the selectors to review performances and draw a roadmap for the future,” “You need to know who exactly are the players who fit into your Test pool, ODI pool, and T20 pool. Track their performance, identify bench strength and create options. It’s also important to keep the think-tank in the loop and seek their suggestions about the road ahead,” said former Cricketer and former team selector Dilip Vengsarkar said.
India’s former wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More also suggested the selection committee make a firm decision. “You know exactly how the current squad has performed. Now, you need to envision how they would be placed in another couple of years. Get back-up players ready and give them enough chances to prove themselves.” He said.
Legendary names from the Indian Film Industry have also commented on MS Dhoni’s future, requesting him to stay with the team.
As a middle order batsman or a WK M S Dhoni is a totally dependable n trustworthy. Virat is graceful enough to accept that Dhoni’s understanding of game is an advantage for the team .One can see that a lot of cricket is still left in Him . Why even talk about his retirement
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) July 12, 2019
Namaskar M S Dhoni ji.Aaj kal main sun rahi hun ke Aap retire hona chahte hain.Kripaya aap aisa mat sochiye.Desh ko aap ke khel ki zaroorat hai aur ye meri bhi request hai ki Retirement ka vichar bhi aap mann mein mat laayiye.@msdhoni
— Lata Mangeshkar (@mangeshkarlata) July 11, 2019
It was announced that the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had approved MS Dhoni’s request to train with the country’s territorial army battalion of the parachute regiment for 2 months.
MS Dhoni, who is an honorary Lieutenant Colonel, will be training in the Parachute regiment battalion. While a part of the training is also expected to be held in the Kashmir valley, it is widely believed that Dhoni would not be a part of any operation. This comes at a time when the Virat Kohli will be touring West Indies.