Dhoni, Just Not A Great Wicket-keeper Batsman But An Indispensable Asset To India's WC T20 Fortunes

Since India's ouster in the 2019 ICC World Cup semifinals, fans have been eagerly awaiting Dhoni's comeback with the hope that the Indian team will give the champion a last hurrah before he throws the towel.

MS Dhoni

The long standing debate over what future lies for one of India's greatest cricketers, MS Dhoni, took another interesting twist with the legend missing out on a BCCI Annual Contract list for 2019-20. This significant development breaking out amidst India's preparations for the 2020 ICC World T2O could possibly signal or hint at the end of a glittering international career.

Just as when millions of 'Mahi' fans heart sank contemplating the writing was certainly there on the wall, BCCI brought a huge sigh of relief stating that the Annual Player contracts had nothing to do with Dhoni's future and the two matters could not been seen as in conjunction with each other .

Since India's ouster in the 2019 ICC World Cup semifinals, fans have been eagerly awaiting Dhoni's comeback with the hope that the Indian team will give the champion a last hurrah before he throws the towel.

Going by historic precedent, Indians like to give their stalwarts a last claim to fame at a major tournament before they hang their boots. Sunil Gavaskar in 1987 World Cup and 2011 Sachin Tendulkar are prime examples and many are quite optimistic that Dhoni too can have one last shot at a major world title .

Amid all the fire and fury over Dhoni's future, let us leave our emotions and understand the big picture with a rational approach .. If Dhoni happens to calls it quits soon who does India have to fill in the big shoes.

While Rishabh Pant has been earmarked as the most likely successor to 'Mahi', India also have the option of keeping with KL Rahul has made a strong case for himself with the willow over the past one season. With a major gulf between potential and performance, Pant still hasn't reposed faith to be the undisputed No.1 glovesman.

And then the question comes to whether Sanju Samson, who warms the bench most of the times can really be considered as an apt replacement.Lastly, Rahul who has also staked a claim as a major wicket-keeping option is undoubtedly good with the bat but his wicket-keeping skills in the 50-over format have really not been tested.

Before Dhoni took a break away from international cricket, he was in very good knick with the bat chipping in consistently with runs in India's T2OI series against New Zealand and Australia in 2019. He aggregated 130 runs in 5 innings with the bat in 2019 and was pretty tidy behind the stumps with some electrifying glovework.

Dhoni's  form in ODIs was also pretty impressive with 600 runs in 16 innings laced with 6 half tons. So Dhoni very much contributed to India's success in white ball cricket all through 2019. He was India's fourth highest run-getter in the ICC 2019 World Cup with 273 runs laced with 2 half tons.

Moreover, it is just not about Dhoni's wicket-keeping as the experienced campaigner has also been a vital cog in India's batting lineup in the white ball format. Whom did India go to when the number 4 middle order corrindum happened ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup. With Pandya still making his way back after a surgery , Dhoni's calm and cool demeanor as a clinical finishers  to finish off nerve wracking encounters certainly will be missed.

Above all, his invaluable experience to steer the team through crisis situations is something hard to replace. From the long haired spirited youngster to 'Captain Cool', Dhoni has been there and done that. He skippered India's maiden T2O World title and is the only skipper to lead India to the ICC Treble.

Did one forget that Dhoni was Kohli's 'Chanakya' at the 2019 ICC World Cup and helped out the skipper in taking some critical decision in the team's successful campaign till the semis.

"He is one of the greats of the game and India is proud to have MS Dhoni over a period of time. If you even sit down and take note of what he has done, you say, 'Wow, MS Dhoni'," Kohli had said about Dhoni prior to 2019 World Cup.

A long hiatus from the international level saw pressure mounting from all quarters over Dhoni's self imposed exile. Former greats have questioned his long standing silence.

Alarm bells have been raised over how fit he is at the ripe old of  38. Perhaps the 'Little Master' Sunil Gavaskar made an emphatic statement that Dhoni is the best man to answer as to how willing is he to don the Indian jersey.

With the BCCI think tank very clear on building a bright future by giving younger talents dozens of opportunities,  Dhoni's remotest chance of donning the Indian jersey once again could only be possible via a stellar season with Chennai Kings in the upcoming edition of the IPL.

Till then. all eyes will be on how hungry Dhoni is get back and silence his critics for one last time before he finally calls it a day.