In 2016, MS Dhoni gave Virat Kohli the captain’s mantle in all formats of the game. © AFP
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Indian cricket’s most decorated captain, has been playing the role of a mentor to skipper Virat Kohli since giving up the captaincy. However, in 2018, the 37-year-old has been struggling to get going with the bat. His last 50 came almost a year ago against Sri Lanka and since then it has been a lull. His continuous poor form had also resulted in him being axed from both the Twenty20 International series against the Windies at home and in Australia. Moreover, there have been speculations about Dhoni participation in the 2019 ICC World Cup. However, Dhoni’s close friend and manager Arun Pandey has revealed that the Ranchi player is in no mood to back off from a shot at the quadrennial event.
“It’s been a long cherished dream of Dhoni – since he gave up the captaincy in white ball cricket – to play in the World Cup next year where he would be more as a mentor to the team. His idea was to give Kohli time to develop in this role and there is still no change in his thinking,” Pandey told Gulf News.
Dhoni gave up Test captaincy during India’s tour of Australia in 2014 and two years later, he gave Kohli the captain’s mantle in all formats of the game.
Dhoni’s role as an ODI batsman has increasingly become debatable. In the recent past he has got the backing of the captain, coach and the chief selector.
His glove work has got better with time. But Dhoni the batsman has been missing.
It’s almost certain that the 2019 World Cup will be the last hurrah for the best finisher of Indian cricket, but Dhoni would not want that to be primarily on reputation rather than overall form.