Former Indian selector Pranab Roy has admitted that his decision to pick MS Dhoni in 2004 for the ODI series against Bangladesh is the best decision he made as a selector. He also weighed in on the captaincy debate and reaffirmed that MS Dhoni knows when to hand over the limited-overs captaincy to Virat Kohli in an interview with TOI.
Before Dhoni was selected in 2004, there was huge debate as to who would be India’s wicketkeeper and take over from Rahul Dravid, who stepped in as a part-time keeper. After a lot of debate, the selectors led by Kiran More, picked Dhoni over Dinesh Karthik, Parthiv Patel and Deep Das Gupta, a scene which also appeared in Dhoni’s biopic, “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”.
Speaking about the selection meeting, Roy, who is currently playing the role of a match referee in the ongoing season of the Ranji Trophy, said: “Actually, there was two other names too that were discussed. Deep Das Gupta and Parthiv Patel. But the selectors stuck with Dhoni. Rahul Dravid had already carried on the role of a wicket-keeper batsman for a long time, thus we went with Dhoni.
"Definitely, Karthik and Parthiv are terrific cricketers and that is why they are still playing and doing well. But Dhoni's case is different. He was much above the rest of the wicket-keepers in India at that time. Every match he was doing well. That’s why he was given a chance and he proved that he was better.”
“Probably, the decision to back him during the selection (in 2004) is the best I have made as a selector,” he added.
There is no replacement for Dhoni in limited overs: Roy
After Virat Kohli led India to another successful series at home and the No.1 spot in Tests, the rumours surrounding him taking over from Dhoni have begun to circulate once again but Roy admitted that more than anyone else, Dhoni knows when to “hand the baton” over to his successor.
"At the moment, there is no replacement for Dhoni in limited overs. He is too good a player and a leader. There is no need to think of changing captaincy. Dhoni knows when to hand the baton to Kohli," the 59-year-old said.
The former Indian international admitted that he was “surprised” when Dhoni decided to retire from Test in the middle of the Test series against Australia in 2014/15, having followed the Indian limited-overs captain from his U-16 days.
Despite his retirement from Tests, the 35-year-old continues to lead the limited-overs side and will look to take India to No.3 with victory in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand, which begins on October 16.
Recalling the time when Dhoni announced his Test retirement, the former selector said: "I was surprised at that moment. After playing 90 Tests, I thought he would continue though we lost a few Tests in England and Australia. But again you have to respect his decision.”