Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri has said that MS Dhoni is a "living legend" and that there is no question of replacing the wicketkeeper-batsman in the near future.
Team India selectors dropped a hint that they are looking ahead, keeping in mind a core group for the 2019 Cricket World Cup when they axed Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, both of whom failed fitness tests ahead of the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Chief selector MSK Prasad made it loud and clear when he said that Dhoni has to perform consistently in order to retain his place in the Indian team.
However, Dhoni has proved his doubters wrong with some key contributions to Virat Kohli's side in the island nation. He has bailed the team out of trouble twice so far and has remained unbeaten in his last three innings, with scores of 45, 67 and 49.
Dhoni also celebrated his 300th ODI on Thursday, August 31 by setting a world record for the most number of unbeaten knocks in 50-over international cricket -- 73.
"MS Dhoni is a massive influence on the team. He is a living legend in the dressing room and an ornament to the game. By no means or by any stretch of imagination he is finished or even half finished yet," Shastri told the Press Trust of India, after India crushed Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI by 168 runs in Colombo.
He added: "How do you pick players? When they are good, and Dhoni is the best limited-overs keeper in the country. Forget his batting stats, what else do you want. Just because he has played for so many years, you are thinking about a replacement?
"He is the best in the country. Would you look to replace Sunil Gavaskar when he was 36 years old or Sachin Tendulkar when he was 36? Dhoni is still the best in the business, so what is the need to even entertain those thoughts."
Kohli has also been heaping praise on Dhoni for his efforts in the island nation. Notably, the Indian skipper, who presented a memento to mark the landmark ODI on Thursday, had said that he always considers the Ranchi hero as his captain.
"What do I say. 90 percent of us started our career under you. It is an honour to give this memento to you. And you will always remain our captain," Kohli had said, drawing applause from his teammates in Colombo.
Apart from his batting and wicketkeeping skills, Dhoni remains a key member of the current Indian set-up due to his experience and immense game awareness. The World Cup-winning former captain is Kohli's go-to-man when it comes to Decision Review System (DRS) appeals and field placements in crunch situations.