India head coach Ravi Shastri said MS Dhoni will start with a fresh mind and body when he resumes training after the ongoing break from international cricket.
Speaking to Boria Majumdar, India Today Consulting Editor Sports, in the latest episode of India Today Inspiration, Ravi Shastri said MS Dhoni’s decision to take a sabbatical from competitive cricket is ‘sensible’.
Dhoni has not played international cricket since India’s semi-final defeat at World Cup 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 and Bangladesh 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.
However, Dhoni was spotted training in Ranchi in the lead up to the ongoing series against West Indies, adding fuel to rumours of his comeback. However, Dhoni said he needs to be left alone until January 2020 when quizzed by reporters at a promotional event.
While Ravi Shastri said MS Dhoni will play the IPL in 2020 and take things from there, the head coach maintained that the World Cup-winning captain would never impose himself on the team.
“How many people would have retired after playing 94 Test matches? And a farewell for his 100th Test match could have been in Ranchi, could have been anywhere. It would have been a full house. He says ‘The gloves belong to Wriddhiman Saha. Take it. Off I go’. I know where he is coming from,” Ravi Shastri said.
“Dhoni is a big event player. The World Cup was a big event. He gave it his all. We didn’t win that we lost in the semi-final. He might be wanting to take a break. But he is going to play the IPL. I saw a photograph the other day. He is pulling out a bat and he has started training.
“The way I look at it is that he will start training. You can’t leave the game. If you want to play again, you can leave the game for that long. It will catch up. You need to get that feel of bat hitting ball, with the gloves the work he has to do.
“I think he will play the IPL and take it from there. If he has an outstanding IPL I don’t rule anything out with that kind of experience with that kind of knowledge of the sport.
“It’s sensible (the break). I like the time when he is starting to play again. I don’t think he is too keen on the one-day stuff. He is finished with Test cricket. T20 is an option. It’s a format that is tailor-made for him. But will his body be able to cope with the demands only he will answer.
“The rest would have done him a world of good, mentally. That mental fatigue would have gone away by now.
“If he decides to play, which he will because he will play the IPL, then he will start training with a very fresh mind. Then you have got to see the form.”