Kapil Dev: It will be our loss whenever Dhoni retires

Former India captain Kapil Dev believes that there will be a big void if Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to hang his boots, any time soon.

Kapil Dev and Krishnamachari Srikkanth at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.   -  M. Vedhan

Former India captain Kapil Dev, who was in the city to promote the upcoming film ‘83’, which is based on India’s maiden World Cup win in 1983, believes that there will be a gaping void to fill if Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to hang up his boots, any time soon.

“He has served the country so well, for so many years. One day, he has to retire. It will be sooner rather than later. He has to go at some time. He is not playing matches. So, I don’t know when he is going to come out and say he has had enough. It will be our loss whenever he retires,” the 61-year-old said.

 

Dhoni was recently left out of the annual Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) central contracts list in January for the period extending from October 2019 to September 2020. Kapil, however, feels that the 2011 World Cup-winning captain "has done his job".

The cricketing legend added that the game, which has often been labelled as a batsman's game, is undergoing welcome changes lately. “The bowling attack is fabulous. We are winning matches not because of the batsmen, but because of great bowlers who are taking 20 wickets in a Test. That is the difference that we have had recently.”

READ: Kapil Dev wins Sportstar Aces 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

Hardik Pandya, who is often compared to Kapil, has been out of action for quite some time now, after he underwent a surgery for his long-standing back injury. The 26-year-old all-rounder was also not considered for the New Zealand tour after failing a workload test. “Pandya has to be worried. He should be worried about how fast he can get fit and come back into the team. That’s important. He has to look after himself.”

On why more and more fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah are getting injured these days, the former skipper blamed the tight schedule the players have to run by. “When you play 10 months in a year, you will get injured. You have to look after the fast bowlers. The conditions and weather in India is more challenging than other parts of the world. The team management will have to take care of them.”

Rishabh Pant has attracted a lot of criticism often, with fans chanting Dhoni's name every time the 22-year-old has donned the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Recently, Pant suffered an injury after being hit on the helmet by a Pat Cummins bouncer in an ODI in Mumbai against Australia. Although he has fully recovered now, it has been KL Rahul who has taken over the job of the 'keeper since then. Rahul has even got the backing of skipper Virat Kohli who feels one shouldn't meddle much with the team combination much if things are working out well. Kapil, however, feels Pant is very talented and has what it requires in him to prove doubters wrong.

“The players should never give the option to the selectors to drop them or give them a rest. Pant is so talented. He cannot blame anybody. He has to look after his own career. The only way for him is to keep on getting runs and prove everybody wrong. When you are talented, it is your job to prove people wrong.”

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