Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team’s loss to England in the recently-concluded bi-lateral ODI series not only put under spotlight the players’ vulnerabilities in English conditions but also raised questions on MS Dhoni’s batting prowess. After an insipid 37-off-59 knock at the Lord’s in the second game of the series during which the former skipper was booed, the wicket-keeper batsman was seen taking the match-ball from Bruce Oxenford and Michael Gough in the decider at Headingley. The video has gone viral and speculation started swirling on future of the talisman.
The 37-year-old ‘captain cool’ has a habit of springing surprises – be it the haircut he sported night after the 2011 World Cup Final or his stunning decision to retire from Test cricket in the middle of India’s 2014 tour of Australia. Now, a video which shows Dhoni sought the white ball from on-field umpires has raised apprehensions in cricket followers’ minds. The currently-off-colour Ranchi boy was criticised for the lack of intent shown in this series even as Kohli has strongly backed his ‘captain forever’.
WATCH the video
— Sai Kishore (@KSKishore537) July 17, 2018
However, putting all rumours to rest, team India coach Ravi Shastri outrightly denied all speculation around Dhoni’s retirement and said he only took the ball from the umpires as he wanted to show the wear and tear condition of the ball to bowling coach Bharat Arun, as per Times of India report.
Retirement has always been a sensitive topic for Dhoni and he had once dramatically quashed the speculation for at least until the 2019 World Cup in an animated conversation with an Australian journalist at a packed press conference. The question was directed at him after India were ousted from the 2016 World T20 following a semifinal loss to the West Indies. Dhoni had famously asked the journalist to join him at the dais and with one arm around his shoulder, the then Indian captain had gone on to counter-question whether the scribe wanted him to retire or considered him unfit.
The light-hearted exchange had put the speculation to rest as Dhoni had dropped enough hints to suggest that he was looking to play at least until the 2019 ODI World Cup in England.
Dhoni has recently entered the elite 10k club and became the only 12th international player to achieve the feat. He is also the fourth Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid to accomplish the milestone. In 321 ODIs, Dhoni has scored 10046 runs at an average of 51.25. He has 10 hundred and 67 fifties to his name. Dhoni has 1487 runs in 93 T20 Internationals at an average of 37.17, including two fifties.
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won the ODI World Cup in 2011 after claiming the World Twenty20 title in 2007. Dhoni also led India to the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 in England. He is only the second wicketkeeper-batsman to touch the 10000-run mark in ODI cricket.