Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been struggling of late in the One Day Internationals and his action of taking the match ball from the umpires after India lost the third match against England at Headingley, Leeds led to speculations that the master wicketkeeper-batsman is contemplating retirement. But coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that Dhoni is very much part of the Indian team and there is no question of him quitting the game.
“MS wanted to show the ball to Bharat Arun. He wanted to show him the wear and tear the ball had endured, to get a general idea of what the conditions were like. That’s rubbish. MS is not going anywhere,” Shastri told The Times of India about rumours of the Jharkhand player planning to call it quits.
Dhoni, who has come under severe criticism for his poor batting form in the recent past, struggled during the three-match ODI series against England too. While he did not get to bat in the first ODI against England that India won by eight wickets, in the next two matches the buccaneering batsman was a pale shadow of his former self as he struggled to find the gaps or the boundaries.
In the second ODI at Lord’s that England won by 86 runs, Dhoni laboured to 37 runs off 59 balls and failed to accelerate when the team needed to score at a brisk rate. He was caught by Ben Stokes off Liam Plunkett’s bowling at deep midwicket as he tried to clear the ropes. The next match too saw the same story as Dhoni scored 42 off 66 balls as India could manage just 256/8 in 50 overs which England achieved easily in 44.3 overs for the loss of just two wickets.
Sunil Gavaskar, too, had written that Dhoni’s poor run in the second ODI was reminiscent of his own infamous innings of 36 runs off 174 balls against England during the first match of the Prudential World Cup at Lord’s on June 7, 1975.