Former opener Sunil Gavaskar feels India captain Virat Kohli will greatly benefit from having MS Dhoni in the team at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
Dhoni's form has been a bit patchy in recent times, especially when compared to his own lofty standards of the past, and that has raised concerns that the wicketkeeper-batsman might be past his prime.
But the former India captain, who led India to many a glorious triumph including in the inaugural ICC Men's World T20 in 2007 and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2011, brings plenty of added services to the side, such as fine-tuning field-placements and encouraging bowlers from behind the stumps. Gavaskar feels that these qualities make Dhoni indispensable.
"Virat needs (Dhoni)," Gavaskar said in his analysis on Star Sports. "There's no doubt about it. In 50 overs where there is that much more time, that's when MSD comes into play. You know he makes those small field adjustments, talking to the bowlers in Hindi – telling them where to bowl and what to bowl. It's a huge plus for Virat."
Dhoni, however, has been omitted from the Twenty20 International squad to face Windies and Australia, with selectors suggesting the 37-year-old has been rested. Gavaskar feels that Kohli has other experienced campaigners to call on for leadership advice but that Dhoni's presence in next year's flagship ODI tournament is vital.
"MSD is an absolute must for the 2019 World Cup," he added. "But having said that, I believe, the way Rohit Sharma has come to the party as a captain, as a thinker, as a planner. He has been brilliant.
"With Rohit coming in and also Ajinkya Rahane, Virat has a couple more shoulders to lean on. Therefore, I think this [is a] move to have MS Dhoni take a break from T20I cricket."
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