January 4, 2017 10:27:07 pm
Just days before the selectors were to announce the teams for ODI and T20 series against England, MS Dhoni, in a sudden move, stepped down as the captain of limited overs side on Wednesday. The 35-year old Dhoni who powered India to two World Cup glories during his stint as captain will no longer be seen directing the Men in Blue. After a superb performance against New Zealand in the ODI series, fans were expecting an ageing MSD to at least stay as captain till the Champions Trophy in England in June this year. But Dhoni, as he always does on field, surprised everyone as he might had some other ideas.
One of the reasons for Dhoni’s sudden move could be Virat Kohli’s tremendous show in recent time. Virat has asserted his power both with the blade and his sharp captaincy skill in the Test matches ever since Dhoni hung his boots in 2014. Young guns in the teams like Karun Nair, R Ashwin, Jayant Pandey, who have been part of the Test squad, would connect more with Kohli as their leader than Dhoni, given a chance in the limited over side.
Moreover, there might have been pressure from the selectors over Dhoni to step down with an aim to build a strong young team for the 2019 World Cup.
After India crashed out from the T20 World Cup in 2016, Dhoni, responding to a question on retirement, said he is hopeful of playing in 2019 ODI World Cup. But given the team’s rising confidence in Kohli, 2019 may have appeared as a distant dream for Dhoni.
Going by his recent form with the bat, Dhoni, who once was the most aggressive batsman of the India team, has changed his style and looked more defensive last few series. He had failed to score in crucial situations and questions were raised on his match winning ability. And to retain his position in the side till 2019, Dhoni might have been thinking about focusing more on his batting than captaincy.
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