Mahendra Singh Dhoni's future for the Men in Blue has been speculated for quite some time ever since India's exit from the World Cup after an 18-run defeat to New Zealand in the semi-finals. However, the selectors and the BCCI have backed the former captain and have asserted that he is a valuable member of the team, providing insight and guidance to the young side.
Indian team selector Sanjay Jagadale broke his silence on 'Captain Cool's' future and has said that there were no 'viable replacements' for the 2011 World Cup-winning captain in the Indian team.
"Dhoni is a great player and has always selflessly played for India. In my opinion, the Indian team currently has no viable alternative to Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman", he told reporters.
Jagadale, however, said that the 38-year-old was mature enough to take a call on his retirement from the limited-overs format.
"Dhoni is mature enough to take a decision on his retirement. But the (national) selectors should meet him to find out what is going on in his mind about his professional future as was done in the case of Sachin Tendulkar before his retirement', Jagadale said.
MS Dhoni had received a lot of flak after his inability to finish the game for India in the semi-final. Despite helping the team recover at crucial junctures, Dhoni's finishing abilities have visibly diminished, with his ability to go blitzkrieg slowly waning away. Although he has recused himself from the selection for India's upcoming tour of West Indies, his finishing abilities and placement in the team will be a point of discussion when the selectors and skipper Virat Kohli are set to meet on 21 July.
Jagadale defended Dhoni's performance in the World Cup and said that the wicketkeeper-batsman played according to the requirements of the team.
"Dhoni played in the World Cup as per the team's requirement. In the semi-final also he was batting as per the same strategy but unfortunately he got run out at a crucial moment (in the game)," he said.
Jagadale opined that Rishab Pant should be given an opportunity in order to prepare himself for the next World Cup.
"Before the World Cup, Pant should have been included in the ODI team along side Dhoni as Pant could have learned from him," said Jagdale.