3 reasons why people want MS Dhoni to retire and the counter-arguments
Let's face it, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a veritable legend of the game. The only India player to have won all three major cricket competitions- the ICC World T20, the ICC World Cup, and the Champions Trophy- as captain, the purveyor of the helicopter shot and the most acclaimed finisher in world cricket, Dhoni evokes strong emotions among fans and will continue to do for eternity.
Against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final on Thursday, the finisher was again bringing the side home despite the equation being quite steep, but an incredible run out off a direct hit by Martin Guptill ended Dhoni's vigil and India's hopes. The man's commitment to the nation's cause could be gauged by the semblance of tears that one could perceive in his visage as the great man walked back to the pavilion.
But should the 38-year-old hang up his boots, now after a long and illustrious career? Most people want him to go on playing, at least till the ICC World T20 in Australia and emotions are running high right now.
Most think Dhoni still has something to contribute to the national team, especially after the WC semi-final elimination on Wednesday. However, there is another camp that believes it's time for Mahi to bid goodbye. Here's their reasoning.
#1 He's not the same player anymore
MSD has played some of the most legendary innings in the history of the game, they will be part of Indian cricket folklore for time immemorial. His destruction of Pakistan in 2005 or his World Cup-winning knock against Sri Lanka in 2011 are the stuff of legends. But naysayers believe age has slowed him down. He begins too slowly and often fails to pick up the pace as he used to before. In particular, the spotlight was his less than convincing display in a steep run chase against England in a league game that India lost.
However, stats tell us that his career strike-rate and his World Cup 2019 strike rate are identical, 87. So, is this just overreaction?
#2 His successor is ready
Rishabh Pant is widely touted as MS Dhoni's long-term replacement in limited overs cricket. He is also part of the Test team right now, as previous first-choice keeper Wriddhiman Saha is still fighting his way back since a career-threatening injury.
Pant is definitely a long-term prospect and an exciting one at that, but he has only played nine ODIs and nine Tests. He has all the talent to replace Dhoni in the future but is still full of the exuberance of youth. Maybe, a gradual transition period is the need of the hour in Indian cricket.
#3 His policy was youth first
This is the most controversial point in the list, one that is backed more by passion than logic. When MSD became the India captain, he was ruthless in taking the hard decisions. One of them was to be youth-centric in limited overs cricket. That meant that the legend Rahul Dravid's ODI career came to a halt at the beginning of his captaincy, though he returned to the team in 2011 before retirement after being infamously dropped in 2009.
Another legendary player and former captain, Sourav Ganguly stopped playing ODIs in 2007. He was 35 then. Dravid was dropped at 36 in 2009. So, Dhoni's detractors believe the same treatment must now be meted out with the 38-year-old. This is, of course, a non-cricketing argument because such strategies are not set in stone and have to be reviewed depending on the situation of the team at that moment.
The call has to be made by the man himself, after due consultation with the team management and that is the minimum the country owes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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