Former Indian captain MS Dhoni is on a sabbatical and theories pertaining to his retirement keep springing up. However, as per a recent report, Dhoni put his retirement plans on hold after Indian skipper Virat Kohli convinced him to stay put and guide the younger players.
As per sources close to the Indian team, Dhoni had made up his mind during the World Cup to call it quits after the quadrennial event. He had informed a few of his teammates about the plan. Some of the Chennai Super Kings teammates also knew about it.
Sources have told DNA that MSK Prasad held a meeting with MS Dhoni and told him that the selectors are looking at grooming Rishabh Pant as the first-choice wicket-keeper in the upcoming tours.
Kohli convinced about Dhoni's fitness
"It was only after Virat (Kohli) advised Dhoni not to quit immediately that the latter changed his mind," a source close to Kohli told DNA.
The source also said that Kohli is convinced about Dhoni's fitness and hence, wants him to stay on and help in this transition phase which includes grooming Rishabh Pant. The management is convinced that the young wicket-keeper is the one for the future.
"Virat feels that Dhoni has no fitness issues and can continue till the T20 World Cup next year, if required by the team. The logic is that while grooming Pant, the Indian think-tank does not want any other wicketkeeper in the team. And, if Pant suffers any injury or loss of form during this time, then Dhoni can easily come in without any issues," added the source.
The Indian selectors have decided to move on from Dinesh Karthik as an option. This leaves three wicket-keepers, including Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson and Wriddhiman Saha in the fray.
"All these names can't replace the experience of Dhoni when it comes to playing in a big tournament. Dhoni's guidance has always been welcomed by Virat and that's why he wants him to be around for some more time till the team is settled," the source said.
Dhoni will also continue to play for Chennai Super Kings which means that the team management will not be losing their sleep over his match fitness.
"The T20 World Cup (to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15, 2020) will only be about four months away from next IPL season. If the team management feels that his services are required, then why not have him in the mix till then?" said the source.