MS Dhoni is unlikely to return to international cricket before IPL 2020 (Reuters Photo)
- MS Dhoni has not played competitive cricket since India's World Cup exit in 2019
- Another worry for Indian selectors now constantly is about who will bell the cat called MS Dhoni: Patil
- Patil also expressed his concern over selectors persisting with struggling Rishabh Pant
Former India batsman Sandeep Patil has expressed his concern over the uncertainty surrounding MS Dhoni's international future, saying it is the cricketer and the selector's responsibility to spell out their plans.
Sandeep Patil, who also served as the chief of India's senior selection committee in the past, said MS Dhoni is still the best wicketkeeper in the shortest format of the game but his absence from competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup is a cause for concern.
MS Dhoni has not played international cricket since India's exit from 2019 World Cup in July 2019. He had trained with the Territorial Army -- 106 TA Battalion (Para) in Jammu and Kashmir for 2 weeks after missing the limited-overs series in West Indies right after the World Cup.
Dhoni also missed home series against South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies even as chief selector MSK Prasad hinted that India are looking ahead and are focused on giving youngsters like Rishabh Pant more opportunities in the lead up to next year's T20 World Cup.
Dhoni, who was spotted training in Ranchi in November, had told a group of reporters that he should be left alone till January 2020 after he was questioned about his international cricket future.
"Another worry for Indian selectors now constantly is about who will bell the cat called Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It is the responsibility of Dhoni and the Indian selectors to spell out their plans." Sandeep Patil wrote in his column for The Quint.
"We don't want Indian cricket to suffer because of the question mark on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's return. In my mind, Dhoni is still the best option for a keeper for India but to survive at the international level, one has to play quality cricket consistently and that is the biggest worry in Mahendra Singh Dhoni's case.
"Coach Shastri and captain Virat Kohli have both voiced their opinion about him and now it is up to the selectors to take a call- are they going to wait for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to make a comeback or will they wait for Rishabh Pant to perform or are they going to give a chance to Wridhiman Saha in formats other than just Test cricket."
'Selectors doing injustice to Samson, Kishan'
In the absence of MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant has got the backing of the team management and the senior selection committee. However, his performances with both the gloves and the bat have been far from impressive in the recent past.
Pant scored 252 runs in 16 matches at an average of 21 in T20I cricket in 2019. His inability to convert starts into big innings and his below-par glovework has become a cause of concern even as selectors have handed call-ups to Sanju Samson who has been in good form in domestic cricket.
Sandeep Patil said persisting with Rishabh Pant even as the youngster is failing to make use of the chances is "doing injustice" to the likes of Samson and Ishan Kishan.
"Rishabh Pant has tremendous ability but by persistently backing only one youngster are our selectors doing injustice to other talents like Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan," Patil wrote.
"How many chances and how many more games are the selectors going to give to Rishabh Pant? And if Mahendra Singh Dhoni returns to international cricket, are we going to forget Rishabh Pant?"