Making an impassioned case for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ashish Nehra said that the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) should not be looked at as a platform that determines the future of former India captain. (More Cricket News)
Dhoni remains one of the greatest finishers but the former India captain's international future hangs in a balance with very little cricket happening in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. And many believe that if Dhoni fails in the IPL, it will be over for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper.
"As far as MS Dhoni’s international carrier I don’t think this IPL has anything to do with it. If you’re a selector, you’re a captain, you’re a coach and MS Dhoni the most important thing if he is ready to play like he will be my number one name on the list," Nehra said on Cricket Connected.
Dhoni, 39, has not played any competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup. The wicketkeeper-batsman gearing up for IPL 2020, joining a CSK training camp in Chennai in March before it was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the 13th edition of the cash-rich T20 tournament will be held in the United Arab Emirates between September 19 and November 8 or 10.
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"As much as I know MS Dhoni, I think he has played his last game for India happily. MS Dhoni has nothing to prove," added Nehra. "And we all discuss these things as media people you can say and everybody because he has not announced his retirement, so that’s where maybe I think he will take a call and only he can tell what’s in his mind."
Despite age catching up with Dhoni, the Ranchi man still commands massive respect from his former teammates and fans. Nehra, who played a sizeable number of his India games under Dhoni, also feels that his former skipper can still perform for India at the highest level.
"For me, MS Dhoni’s game never came down. We have discussed this earlier as well, that in the last game that he played, India had hope to reach the World Cup final till the time MS Dhoni was there and the minute he got run out everybody lost hope," the left-arm pacer explained.
In a celebrated career, Dhoni has helped India win all four ICC sanctioned tournaments -- T20 World Cup (2007), 50-over World Cup (2011), Champions Trophy (2013), and Asia Cup (2010 and 2016). And he is arguably India's greatest captain.
"He knows how to run the team, he knows how to push youngsters forward and all these things I don’t need to repeat again and again but I don’t think this IPL makes any difference in MS Dhoni’s stature or his aura as a player. I don’t think a tournament like the IPL should be MS Dhoni’s selection criteria, it’s probably just a talking point," Nehra said.
Dhoni has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is for India, and scored more than 17000 international runs.
And he is looking for one last swing at World Cup, next year, or the following year.