India vs Zimbabwe 2016: 5 reasons why this tour is extremely crucial for MS Dhoni
The IPL season 9 is over and it is that time of the year when India tours an invariably weak international side to kick off their new cricketing season and like last year the team will be touring Zimbabwe. This time, the tour would comprise of 3 ODI’s and 3 T20’s.
A majority of senior players like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being rested for this short tour. Zimbabwe had requested for a one-off Test match but BCCI was in no mood to disturb its plans of resting the seniors after a long and gruelling cricket season.
This time though there is a twist in the tale with MS Dhoni leading the side instead of Raina, Kohli and Rahane who had led on previous 3 Zimbabwe tours of 2010, 2013 and 2015 respectively. Dhoni despite having retired from tests has played a lot of cricket in the past 3 months starting from the tour of Australia, Asia Cup, T-20 World Cup and finally the exhausting IPL.
No questions would have been asked of Dhoni had he opted out of this tour citing fatigue. Dhoni by virtue of leading a bunch of inexperienced players on this tour is trying to send a signal that he is not willing to be bowed down by the criticism levelled at him in recent times regarding his future as Indian captain in limited overs format and as a player indeed.
This tour of Zimbabwe might seem a walk in the park for some but more than the results, this tour is extremely crucial for Dhoni in various other aspects.
Match practice and fitness level
Considering the schedule of Indian team for this season, the tour is imperative for Dhoni as far as match practice and fitness is concerned. India will be playing a lot of Test cricket till the end of March 2017, 17 in all to be precise.
If Dhoni would have opted out of this tour he would not have got a chance to play for India until the home series against New Zealand in Oct –Nov later this year. Clearly Dhoni wants to keep himself match fit and play as many limited overs cricket as possible with the crucial Champions trophy to be played in England next year.
Dhoni has recently stated that his fitness is going to be of foremost importance if he wants to continue as an international cricketer. He will be turning 35 next month and will be keen to prove that he indeed is as fit as ever, an aspect of the game in which he has taken immense pride in throughout his international career.
His fitness, more than anything else is going to be of uttermost importance if he wants to prolong his glorious career. He must be having an eye on the Champions trophy to be played in England next year and if indeed his body supports, who knows he might as well play the 2019 ODI World Cup which seems quite far at this moment.