BCCI dropped Dhoni from recently renewed contracts, in which he was earlier in category A (player featuring in at least two formats for India). Everything leads to the big debate now? Will we ever see Dhoni playing for Team India? If Yes, then how and when?
Many experts and legends have come up with multiple explanations and theories. Many believed that if Dhoni would have played and performed well in IPL, he can be eligible to play for Team India in T20 World Cup. But this statement raises two fundamental questions; Is IPL the right criteria for selecting someone for Team India? And without IPL or any other domestic trophy, how can someone be selected for representing India at the international level?
IPL is probably the most successful T20 domestic league that grew big enough to make its own space at the ICC calendar. Many domestic and international players have played and developed with the success of their respective franchises. Indian cricket also found some gems thanks to IPL in the form of Bumrah, Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Ravi Jadeja, and so on. But we have also seen that many players who get selected based on IPL have still not managed to live up to their franchise reputation like Saurabh Tiwari or Pawan Negi.
For a player to become successful in any format at any level of the game, it requires a lot of consistency, dedication, hard work, and, most importantly, the right temperament. And we are talking about a reputed international cricketer towards the far end of his career; it can be considered the right choice that he decides to skip a few tournaments to keep his body injury and stress-free.
More importantly, for a player who is the third-highest T20I run-scorer for Team India with an average of 37 (fourth-best for Team India), Dhoni can bring in a lot of experience to the field. Even during the World Cup last year, we had often seen Kohli or Rohit frequently talking to Dhoni. It has often happened that Dhoni changed the field around, guided the bowler for the right delivery, and calmly helped Kohli to absorb the pressure situation with a critical breakthrough.
Having a successful T20 World Cup winner and two times finalist captain in your side when you build your foundation for another glowing World Cup campaign can give Kohli and Team India a unique advantage. Dhoni’s experience will not only bring a different perspective and wisdom for the next generation when he decides to hang up his boots.
It is not that Rishabh Pant or KL Rahul or Sanju Samson, three of India’s best choice for a wicket-keeper batsman lack in their cricketing skill, but all of them lack the wicket-keeping ability to match with Dhoni’s.
I certainly hope that despite the conclusion about the future of IPL this year, Team India must have MS Dhoni by their side, to calm them down in crucial situations, to silently ascending individual players to their best performances.