Former India batsman Virender Sehwag is of the opinion that the selectors should speak to MS Dhoni about his future, as speculation continues over the wicket-keeper batsman's retirement.
Dhoni had opted out of India's tour to West Indies and Rishabh Pant, who is seen as his potential long-term replacement with the gloves, was included in the squads for all three formats.
"First of all he is not fit, so when he is fit and available, then we'll see," India chief selector MSK Prasad had said about Dhoni after the selection. The former captain, on his part, has not made his intentions for the future public.
Sehwag, who was Dhoni's deputy during India's victorious campaign at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2011, felt there should be clear communication between the selectors and Dhoni regarding the future.
"[Retirement] is Dhoni's personal call. If he thinks he is fit and can contribute like he used to, then why not continue," Sehwag told Hindustan Times. "But if the selectors think that MSD can't contribute, then they should tell him that we are giving you this last series. That should be communicated.
After a time, Dhoni should decide and speak to selectors and ask for a retirement game. That is when he feels it is the right time to quit.
"That communication should always be there between the selectors and the player. [I] don't know whether the selectors have [done that] or not.
"We have only read MSK [Prasad] giving a statement about selectors conveying to MSD that he is not their first choice. So, that means they'll pick Pant first and then if they have to pick a second keeper, they'll pick Dhoni. That is not possible. After a time, Dhoni should decide and speak to selectors and ask for a retirement game. That is when he feels it is the right time to quit."
Dhoni's last ODI appearance came against New Zealand in the semi-final of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, wherein he scored 50, before his run-out turned the game.
"New Zealand played better that day," Sehwag said. "I think the management’s fault was that they sent Dhoni way down. He would have played till the end and made others (Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja) play around him. Had Dhoni come earlier and Pandya, Pant and Jadeja batted later with the old ball, they would have chased 8-9 an over easily. Sending them early and making them face the new ball, and then hoping that they would accelerate, was risky."
Sehwag, one of the game's most destructive opening batsman, continued his backing for Rishabh Pant behind the stumps. “I think Rishabh Pant is the best [option]. He proved himself in Test cricket and now he may prove himself in ODIs and T20Is again. He is the best guy to replace MS Dhoni,” he said.
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