Former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani has opined MS Dhoni's decision to quit Test cricket in 2014 was not right. The Ranchi stumper's presence could have helped Virat Kohli and his young team learn more about the "rigors of Test cricket", according to the legendary cricketer.
Dhoni came up with an unforeseen call to end his Test career during India's four-Test series (Border-Gavaskar Trophy) on their tour to Australia in 2014-15. The former India captain had played 90 Tests, in which he accumulated 4,876 runs at 38.09.
The then 32-year-old did not reveal his decision during the customary captain's speech after the drawn third Test in Melbourne but helped raise quite a few eyebrows when the announcement came through a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) press release following the end of the final day's play.
The release said Dhoni had taken the decision, considering "the strain of playing all formats". Notably, the 2011 World Cup-winning skipper was under a lot of pressure as the Asian giants were consistently losing Test series overseas, ever since their 4-0 thrashing in England in 2011.
"I still feel Dhoni didn't do the right thing by retiring from Tests. Virat still needs his guidance and also the next batch could have learnt more about the rigours of Test cricket from him," Kirmani was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has managed to cement his spot in the Test side with consistent performances with the bat and from behind the wicket over the years. However, India are unsure about Dhoni's replacement in the shorter formats of the game — ODIs and T20Is.
Despite concerns over his diminishing ability to finish matches for the team, 36-year-old Dhoni has received the backing of captain Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri, who are keen on retaining the services of the wicketkeeper-batsman at least until the 2019 Cricket World in England.
Dinesh Karthik fantastic wicketkeeper, safe batsman: Kirmani
Kirmani, who effected 198 dismissals from 88 Tests, believes Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik is the ideal candidate to replace Dhoni post the latter's retirement. He also insisted the likes of Rishabh Pant, 20, and Sanju Samson, 23, should not be fast-tracked into the senior national team.
"But as far as ODIs and T20s are concerned, my choice is Dinesh Karthik. He is a fantastic batsman, a safe wicketkeeper, and a very good outfielder. He is an all-rounder for me," Kirmani said.
"In Tests, it will be a choice between Wriddhiman Saha, Parthiv [Patel] and maybe Karthik. It will depend on who is in form and remains fit.
"Don't induct a Pant or a Sanju Samson straightaway. I would want them to show more consistency at the first-class level for a considerable period along with peak fitness and immaculate keeping technique."