Shastri hints at Dhoni T20 World Cup swansong
MS Dhoni will soon officially call time on his ODI career but could still feature at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, according to India coach Ravi Shastri.
Dhoni is a veteran of 448 internationals across the limited overs formats, and captained India to glory at the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup - the latter an unforgettable triumph on home soil.
The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has not featured for India since their semi-final loss to New Zealand at last year's World Cup and he is currently on a break from the game.
Rishabh Pant has taken the gloves for India in white-ball cricket but the Dhoni era might not be over just yet.
"I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us," Shastri told News18. "He has finished his Test career, he may soon end his ODI career. So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL.
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"One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then...
"We will have to consider the person’s experience and form. They will bat in the number five or six position. If Dhoni plays well in IPL, then he does put himself in contention."
Wishing you a #MerryChristmas May the festive season bring peace, joy and happiness to all. pic.twitter.com/WMPutsitr9 — Rishabh Pant (@RishabhPant17) December 25, 2019
A return to Dhoni could be welcoming in some quarters, given criticism that has been levelled at Pant's glovework and his failure to convert starts into decisive contributions with the bat.
Pant averages 20.50 from 25 T20I innings, but Shastri is backing the youngster.
"How many 22-year-old wicket-keepers have made 100s? He hasn’t dropped many catches and everyone is entitled to make mistakes," he added.
"As he matures he will get better. These things don't happen overnight. There is no question that he is a match-winner.
"Talent is there, he is doing everything to cash in. He is working hard on his wicketkeeping."