Ravi Shastri, the India coach, said that MS Dhoni, the former national team captain and wicket-keeper, "may soon end his ODI career" and focus on T20 cricket.
Dhoni, who led India to the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 50-over World Cup titles, has not played since India's semi-final exit at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019. He is currently on a break from cricket, but with no imminent announcement of a retirement, there is uncertainty about whether he is still a part of India's plans.
While India's selectors have indicated that they are "moving on" and have put their faith in Rishabh Pant in T20 cricket, Dhoni's game sense, acumen and unmatched reflexes as a wicket-keeper continue to make a case for him.
Shastri indicated that the veteran could still make the trip to Australia for the Men's T20 World Cup later in the year if he had a good IPL season. "I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us," Shastri told News18. "He has finished his Test career, he may soon end his ODI career. So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL.
"One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then...
"We will have to consider the person’s experience and form. They will bat in the No.5-6 position. If Dhoni plays well in IPL, then he does put himself in contention."
The coach also had words of encouragement for Pant, who has come in for criticism, including from the management, for tending to give away his wicket after getting starts. Pant averages 20.50 after 25 innings in T20Is, and there has also been scrutiny about his work behind the stumps.
"Pant is just 21," Shastri said. "How many 21-year-old wicket-keepers have made 100s? He hasn’t dropped many catches and everyone is entitled to make mistakes. As he matures he will get better. These things don’t happen overnight. There is no question that he is a match-winner. Talent is there, he is doing everything to cash in. He is working hard on his wicket-keeping."
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