What’s the story?
Ravi Shastri stated that the future of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh with respect to the ICC World Cup 2019 has not been discussed yet.
“2019 is a long way to go. They're two champion cricketers. We will deal with them when the time comes. I will spend time with the captain and take things forward. I've not spoken to him (Virat Kohli),” said the new Indian head coach.
Shastri has joined the team amidst rumours and speculation, which started soon after Kumble stepped down as the coach of the team. Shastri however, says that what happened before he was in charge of the team will not deter him from doing his job well.
“I don't carry baggage, what happened in the past is not my problem. I will start afresh. Whatever I discuss with Virat will stay between him and me,” he added.
Also read: Ravi Shastri appointed as India’s head coach
In case you didn’t know...
Shastri was appointed as India’s head coach following Kumble’s resignation from the post. Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan was also roped in as the bowling coach, while Rahul Dravid will act as the team’s batting consultant for overseas tours.
Kumble had stepped down at the end of the ICC Champions Trophy, and the Indian team went into their recently-concluded tour of the West Indies without the tutelage of a coach. Both Dhoni and Yuvraj took up the mentorship of youngsters in the squad and took the responsibility of making them feel comfortable on the tour.
The Indian skipper displayed full-fledged support for Dhoni when asked about his loss of form in the ODI series against West Indies. India fell like nine pins while failing to score a meagre target of 190 in 50 overs in the fourth ODI. Dhoni scored the slowest half-century in sixteen years and was dismissed for a score of 54 off 114 deliveries, inviting strong criticism from all quarters.
Kohli, however, defended the veteran keeper’s inability to finish the match and stated that every batsman gets stuck on the crease some time or the other. Furthering his point, he also said that he believes that the former Indian captain is still in excellent touch and has the ability to carry his team to improbable victories more often than not.
Dhoni and Yuvraj are both veteran cricketers now and the senior-most members of the current team. While the man from Ranchi has made it clear that he won’t be playing after the 2019 World Cup, there has been no definitive statement from the southpaw.
India will tour Sri Lanka later this month and will face the hosts in all three formats of the game. It will be Shastri’s first tour as India’s new coach, and you would hope that it gives both him and Kohli an idea of the potential squad that they want to take to England for the World Cup.
While Dhoni’s batting prowess is dimmer than it was a couple of years ago, there’s still no wicket-keeper in the country who can come close to Dhoni’s fast reflexes behind the stumps. Propelling him to number four in the batting order might just prove to be a game-changing decision for India if they were to take the former Indian captain with them for the World Cup.
As for Singh, his form has shown a steep decline after his fifty against Pakistan in the opening game of the ICC Champions Trophy. The Sri Lanka tour might just be his last chance to cement his place in the side, considering batsmen like KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant are warming the benches for the team.