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ICC Champions Trophy will be make or break for MS Dhoni, feels childhood coach

MS Dhoni is currently playing for Jharkhand in the ongoing 2017 Vijay Hazare trophy

MS Dhoni getting ready for a practice session ahead of the Vijay Hazare trophy semis (Photo credits: Indian Express)

What’s the story?

Former Indian captain MS Dhoni’s childhood coach Keshav Banerjee has said that the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy will be crucial in deciding the fate of the wicketkeeper-batsman. He assured that if Dhoni comes out in flying colours, he will certainly be a part of the Indian team till the 2019 World Cup.

At the moment, his sole focus is on the Champions Trophy. If he’s successful there, I think he would go on till the World Cup 2019. It’s natural that with age, you would not hit the same strike rate. But his will power and game-analysing sense are the two qualities that make him special. He’s out there playing domestic one-dayers (Vijay Hazare Trophy) to keep himself in shape ahead of the Champions Trophy,” Banerjee said at the launch of an under-14 tournament.

In case you didn’t know...

Keshav Banerjee is the man behind MS Dhoni- the cricketer as he persuaded Dhoni to take up wicketkeeping when he was the goalkeeper of his school’s Football team. 

MS Dhoni gave up captaincy from the ODI and T20 formats earlier this year to concentrate more on his batting and the move reaped success for the Jharkhand batsman as he had a successful series as a batsman against the visiting English team in January.

Extra cover: Ashish Nehra says MS Dhoni may not be thinking as far as the 2019 World Cup right now

The heart of the matter

To get some match practice going into the Champions Trophy, MS Dhoni is playing for Jharkhand in the ongoing 2017 Vijay Hazare trophy. According to Banerjee, Dhoni is still at the top of the game. He also admitted that Dhoni doesn’t like others pointing fingers at him and that is the reason why he retired from the Test formats before he was forced to do so. 

“He never liked to be pushed so he called it quits before anyone could point fingers at him in the Tests format. He never kept anyone in the loop, even his best friend or parents did not know when he quit Tests, Banerjee added.

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Author’s Take

It is no doubt that MS Dhoni is past his prime as a batsman and is getting older every single day. It won’t be a surprise if the wicketkeeper-batsman calls it a day after the 2017 Champions Trophy and allows Virat Kohli to build a team for the 2019 World Cup.

At the same time, with the World Cup just 2 years away, Dhoni might be around to make sure that India doesn’t lack an experienced middle-order batsman who can take responsibilities in pressure situations.

Either way, Dhoni should be allowed to take his own decision and knowing the man who has won two World Cups for the country, the news of him announcing his retirement will come as a surprise just like his Test retirement in 2014 and his resignation from captaincy. 

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