Some cricket fans might have been left surprised when the senior statesman of the Indian team, Yuvraj Singh, was dropped for the upcoming ODI and T20 series against Sri Lanka. The team, which was announced late on Sunday, will be led by Virat Kohli as his team prepares for successful limited overs series in the island nation after a dominating show in the ongoing Test series.
One may understand Yuvraj's inclusion from the side as he has not been able to perform at his best in the last two series, including the Champions Trophy and also in West Indies. With a number of players including Manish Pandey, who has been picked for the Sri Lanka series, knocking at the selectors' door, Yuvraj faced the axe.
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The selectors seem to have their eye on World Cup 2019. They are looking to build a core group of players and develop a rich pool of players for the ICC event, and Yuvraj, it can be safely said, is not on that list.
However, one understands that Yuvraj was dropped with plenty of replacements available for the player. With no immediate replacements available for Dhoni, did he survive the axe?
"His batting has lost sting. He rarely bowls and his fielding has gone down a few notches. If we have to prepare a team for 2019 World Cup, we had to take a call now. In the case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, we still don't have a replacement but Yuvraj's place has multiple contenders," PTI quoted a BCCI official as saying.
If we go by the above statement one wonders if the selectors are also mulling on a replacement for Dhoni. Ironically, Dhoni is the only regular wicketkeeper batsman in the squad, though Kedar Yadav and KL Rahul can also keep wickets, as part-timers.
Talking about replacements, there is no player in India, who can replace Dhoni as the player has been sensational with his bat and also behind the wickets for India in the last 13 years. Dhoni has already quit the longer format of the game, but he has always maintained that he wants to play in the 2019 World Cup.
However, India can definitely search for the next wicket-keeper batsman and players like Sanju Samson and Rishab Pant are favourites to replace the former India captain. But, they are inexperienced and Dhoni is still going strong, which will always make him a favourite until the 2019 World Cup unless there is a serious dip in form.
At present, dropping Dhoni is not a good idea.