Azhar: Let Dhoni take decision on retirement
The uncertainty over Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future continues to grow. In the absence of any clear message from the former India captain himself or the Board of Control for Cricket in India, there is a growing feeling that Dhoni may continue till the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
On Friday, Sunil Gavaskar joined the debate saying Indian cricket should look beyond Dhoni and promote youngsters.
Mohammed Azharuddin, another former captain, however, feels Dhoni should be allowed to make his own decision. “At the end of the day, the player should know whether he wants to continue or not. It is entirely a player’s decision,” Azhar told The Telegraph on Friday evening.
“Since it relates to Dhoni, we should be careful while taking a decision. He has been an outstanding player for India in all formats. He has brought the country several laurels, including two World Cups, and his contribution has been massive.
“The decision rests entirely with him. The selectors have to speak to him and a decision needs to be taken. I respect Sunny bhai’s views but the decision will rest with Dhoni. I don’t think anyone else can speak for him,” the 56-year-old said.
Rishabh Pant was thought to be Dhoni’s heir apparent, at least in the limited-overs version, but his transition from fearless to careless stroke-making seems to have forced the team management into thinking about alternatives.
Against the West Indies, Pant got 20 runs in his two ODI innings while in the T20Is, he totalled 69 in three matches. In the T20I against South Africa in Mohali, he managed 4.
Azhar though doesn’t wish to take a hasty decision and is intent on giving the Delhi youngster more chances.
“We can stick to Pant for some more time. Don’t forget he has loads of talent. There’s no doubt about that. If you watch keenly, you will notice that his mode of dismissals in the last few matches have been the same. He needs to learn from his mistakes.
“You can’t credit the bowler for his dismissals. He has to learn to make the bowler work hard for his wicket. This can’t go on for match after match… Of course, he needs to sort out his game plan and bring more discipline,” explained Azhar.
The former captain isn’t losing hope and feels he should learn to be more disciplined.
“He should get a few more chances. If you are backing a player, he deserves chances. But he has to perform and do so consistently. The world can’t wait for him to perform. He has to live up to expectations and has to deal with the pressure that comes with the sport,” Azhar said.