New Delhi: The chairman of national selection committee MSK Prasad on Thursday hailed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s sense of “perfect timing” to quit as captain of limited overs formats and hinted at the mantle going to Virat Kohli.
He also gave enough hints that Dhoni will be in team against England for the ODI series beginning January 15 and that he has a couple of years of cricket left in him. “Had Mahi taken the decision one year or even six months earlier, I would have been a bit worried. But I salute him for his sense of perfect timing. He knew that Virat is now a proven customer who has done exceptionally well as a leader in Test.
“So it is a correct decision by Dhoni. It showed that he had the best interest of Indian cricket in his mind,” Prasad said. Himself a former India stumper, he is of the opinion that purely as a cricketer, Dhoni still has a fair amount of cricket left in him.
“I still feel he has a couple of years of cricket left in him and as a wicketkeeper-batsman, he can still make an invaluable contribution to the team’s cause,” he Prasad. Prasad, who has always shown clarity in his thought process, feels that as a captain there was nothing more to achieve for Dhoni.
“What else was left for him to achieve as a captain? He has achieved everything under the sun in his tenure as India captain. He has won World T20, 50-over World Cup, Champions Trophy — all three global trophies. Apart from that he has won IPL, Champions League T20. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He has been a great leader,” said Prasad.
Asked what made Dhoni the captain that he was, Prasad said: “I believe his match reading was brilliant. That’s why he was quick on his feet and could assess any situation with a lot of clarity. For a captain, foresight is an important aspect and he had that in abundance.”
Prasad feels that Dhoni’s presence will be a guiding light for Kohli, who will now have to shoulder the burden of captaincy across three formats along with his batting. “Dhoni’s presence will help Kohli as he now captains across three formats. Had he quit, Virat would have missed out on his immense experience.”
Prasad said that while Dhoni and Virat are chalk and cheese as personalities, both have always had the same intensity when it came to the urge of winning matches for India. “Dhoni never gave away anything in terms of body language while Kohli has always been aggressive. What I have loved about Dhoni is that he will never give away anything as to what is going on in his mind. That’s his personality. He can keep things submerged in him. But deep down, both Dhoni and Kohli’s urge to win matches for India is equal. There is no letdown in intensity,” said Prasad.
However, the chairman of selectors begged to differ that with no burdens of captaincy now, Dhoni would once again get his mojo back as a finisher and the helicopter shots could be in use more often.
“I don’t think it would be fair on anybody’s part to equate his batting with captaincy. I don’t think these two were co-related. Yes, it was purely an issue of form and nothing else,” said Prasad.