The ongoing mystery over the future of former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni took another twist when Indian team's coach Ravi Shastri suggested in an interview that the legendary cricketer may call it a day from One-day International cricket in the near future.
Speaking to a news channel, Shastri gave the reasons for this surmise. "I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us. He has finished his Test career. He may soon end his ODI career... In all probability, he will finish one-day cricket," Shastri stated, much to the agony of die-hard fans of one of the greatest ODI batsmen of all time.
Speaking to CNN News18, Shastri also reminded everyone of the age of MSD and the long tenure that he has had in international cricket. "At his age, probably the only format he'll want to play is T20 cricket which means he'll have to start playing again, get back into the groove because he's going to play in the IPL and see how his body reacts."
This comment of Shastri, while it reveals the thinking in the team regarding Dhoni's future, also confirms the suspicion that many have had for the longest time. Since the wicketkeeper-batsman has been missing in action since the World Cup last year, it was very likely that he was unsure about whether to continue playing the 50-over format.
The reason why Mahi hasn't yet retired from it, despite knowing fully well that he won't play the next World Cup, is, probably, because he wasn't sure about his successors in the 50-over team. Rishabh Pant's form had been inconsistent and no other keeper was on the horizon. But with Pant finding form in the ODI series against West Indies, that concern may be over.
Shastri also made it clear that if MSD does well in the Indian Premier League (IPL), he would stand a great chance of making it back into the Indian T20 side. "People must respect that he's played non-stop in all formats of the game for a while ... 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..."
It's pretty clear what the thinking within the team is. With the World T20 less than a year away, the Indian team will closely monitor the form of both Rishabh Pant and MSD. Whoever is doing better will be the keeper-batsman is the side.
India hasn't won the World T20 since its inaugural edition in 2007. That tournament is very important. Indian team won't like to rule out the presence of a player like Dhoni from the team for that tournament this early.