What's the future for Dhoni?

Former National selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil believes that if Dhoni thinks he is fit and is performing, "he has every right to stake his claims".

M.S. Dhoni scored 273 runs in the World Cup.   -  GETTY IMAGES

No one in Indian cricket has been as enigmatic as Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Many times the selectors could not reach him. Even the Board president would be left clueless. His state association had no access to him. The selectors would try to get messages across to Dhoni through players close to him. Even this method would reach a dead end often. The situation has not changed.

For someone who often wondered if he would ever get an opportunity to wear the India cap, the wicketkeeper-batsman has commanded awesome respect from his peers and past stalwarts from the time he made his debut. His fan following across the world has been mind-blowing. They don’t want Dhoni to go. Some former stars don’t want him to go. What about the national selectors? They would ideally want Dhoni to take a bow for they are keen to look ahead and nurture some youngsters. Technically, Dhoni is available as long as he does not announce his retirement.

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Former National selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil had a piece of advice. “As a selector, I am answerable only to the Board. I am answerable to Indian cricket. It doesn’t matter if you are a big player but you can’t be bigger than the game. When I was the chairman the committee took some tough decisions in the interest of the team and Indian cricket. It is not easy to tell a player that his time is up. If he does not fit into the scheme of things you have to tell him sometimes. I am not suggesting Dhoni should quit. If he thinks he is fit and performing he has every right to stake his claims. What ultimately matters is what plans do the selectors and the captain have,” said Patil.

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Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were some of the big players who were dropped. “We had never said they would be not picked again,” insisted Patil. The then selection committee thought they had a chance to come back. This is not the case with the 38-year-old Dhoni.

There is a section which feels Dhoni would want to extend his career by playing the T20 format but the selectors are not inclined to consider Dhoni for the forthcoming assignments in United States and the West Indies. The writing is on the wall. Only, the enigmatic Dhoni needs to read it.