Under-fire MS Dhoni has received a vote of confidence from his former skipper, Sourav Ganguly who insists the 37-year-old wicketkeeper will do well at next year's Cricket World Cup in England.

Ganguly's comments came during the first ODI of the ongoing five-match series between India and the West Indies in Guwahati on Sunday. The former India captain was invited as the guest of honour by Assam Cricket Association on the sidelines of the first-ever ODI match held at the Barsapra Cricket Stadium.  

Dhoni has been criticised in the past over his waning finishing abilities, especially in the 50-over format of the game. The wicketkeeper-batsman is seemingly a shadow of his former self and has been contributing to India's middle-order woes in the recent past. 

In 2018, Dhoni has managed only 225 runs at 28.12. His strike rate of 67.36 has been a big cause of concern for the Indian team. At the recently-concluded Asia Cup, the Ranchi star scored only 77 runs from four matches at a strike rate of 62.09.

With only 17 ODIs to go before the Cricket World Cup, starting May 30 in England, India will be hoping to settle on a fixed combination as early as possible. 

With the inclusion of 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who made his ODI debut during India's eight-wicket win on Sunday, there is going to be more scrutiny on Dhoni if he doesn't step up. 

"I don't know what combination they are thinking at. But I'm sure he [Dhoni] will do well in the World Cup. It's [against West Indies] big series for him," Ganguly told the Press Trust of India. 

"His overall record is very good. It all depends on how the players perform going ahead to the World Cup. It's about scoring runs. That's why Pant has been given a chance."

MS Dhoni
File photo of MS Dhoni.IANS

Dhoni's place in the side had been questioned by critics, including former cricketers but captain Virat Kohli and the team management have backed the seasoned campaigner. 

The veteran, despite stepping down as captain last year, is being seen as an important member of the leadership group. Kohli has benefited a lot from the way Dhoni has been able to guide the youngsters in the team. He is still arguably the best wicket-keeping choice available in the country for the Men in Blue. 

Ganguly expects 'competitive' World Cup in England

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli brought up his 36th ODI ton on Sunday.IANS

Meanwhile, Ganguly refused to name India as favourites for the upcoming edition of the quadrennial global spectacle, which he believes will be highly competitive. 

India, the second-ranked ODI team, have found quite a lot of success both at home and overseas, especially in the limited-overs format in the recent past. Having reached the final of Champions Trophy held in England two times on the trot — 2013 (champions) and 2017 (runners-up), the Men in Blue will fancy their chances of going all the way at next year's premier tournament. 

Hosts England, who are on top of the ICC ODI charts, are being seen the side to beat and their 2-1 win over India earlier this year was certainly a statement of intent. 

"India are a good ODI side. This World Cup will be worth watching. All teams play all and the best four go. It will be a competitive one," Ganguly said.