Indian Team – Current Standing Under Captain Virat Kohli
Current team management along with the Indian team captain, Virat Kohli, have said they would render full support to the ex-team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Well, how could they say no to a man who has won so many laurels for India for so many years in all formats of the game?
However, it gets interesting to see where and how he fits in into the current Indian side which is doing phenomenally well with its current makeup.
Virat has been dwelling on how competitive the side has become at the present moment. He wants to keep the competitiveness alive within the team leading up to the selection of the 2019 World Cup. This also implies that there would be no guarantee of a permanent berth in the team for any player.
He has cited Ajinkya Rahane’s example stating how well he had played in the West Indies series and is a top contender for opening the batting for India. Shikhar Dhawan, at the same time, is in tremendous form and so is Rohit Sharma. In the middle order line up, K.L Rahul and Manish Pandey are fighting it out for a spot. Manish Pandey extracted the full opportunity while filling in K.L Rahul’s place during his injury. This also gives us a hint that even Virat’s predecessor MS Dhoni’s place too may not be secure in the playing side.
Moving ahead for MSD
Consistency – MSD has been good with the bat so far in the one day series against Sri Lanka. He rediscovered his vintage playing mettle under pressure and added 45 runs in 68 balls at a crucial stage of the game along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar who turned the tables in India’s favour. He would have to perform consistently going into the India vs Australia series to be playing for India in coming months. MSD adds immense value to the team as a wicket keeper batsman and would have to maintain his consistency both behind the wicket and also with the bat to stay in contention.
Wriddhiman Saha is be waiting in MSD’s shadows. Any shortcoming in MSD’s game may tempt the selectors and itch them to look at Wriddhiman as a replacement.
Endurance Tests – Another challenge for MSD would be the new endurance tests brought in by the team’s conditioning coach. The ‘yoyo’ test has been part of the Indian team’s preparations since 2008. However, there have been modifications and players would have to pass the 2nd level of the test in the current scenario. This is not an easy task as players would get called randomly and would have to make the cut to be eligible to play on a match day. This test grabbed a bit of an attention after Yuvraj Singh failed to meet the requirements.
MSD has always been one of the quickest and fittest players in the team. Keeping the wicket for long hours demands a player to be exceptionally agile, flexible and most importantly, extremely fit. Fitness is of vital importance as he would have to dive, jump and be at ease in performing acrobatic movements to take catches or prevent the ball going past him to the boundary.
Having said that, MSD’s age is on the high side in the run up to the 2019 World Cup. It will be interesting to see how he keeps himself fighting fit without injury and pass the most difficult of tests to stay on top of his form.
Giving up Captaincy in all Formats – MSD hung his boots as a captain in the limited over games in 2016 end. He can no longer leverage his position as a team captain over the selection committee to pick players for the team or to get himself selected. MSD will have to fight it out for himself at every stage to be in the thick of things.
MS Dhoni as a player likes to keep things simple. If one recalls the press meet in which he called the Australian journalist over to the stage when asked a question about whether he would want to carry on with his game post 34 (his age then); especially after their exit from the ICC World T20 semi finals.
MSD answered the questions in a simple manner by calling him over to the dais and asking him whether he thought Dhoni was unfit? The journalist replied with a negative and agreed that Mahendra Singh Dhoni would survive till the 2019 World Cup!
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