Former captain Kapil Dev has insisted the Indian Premier League will be important to the veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni's bid to be included in India's squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Dhoni has not played competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup, but will represent the Chennai Super Kings in the 13th edition of the IPL, which will start next month.
“If you haven’t played cricket for so long then I don't think you can come back from anywhere. But he still has the IPL, his form there'll be important and the selectors should see what is best for the country. Dhoni has done a lot for the country, but when you don't play for six or seven months, you leave a doubt in everyone's mind. And then that creates a lot of discussions which shouldn't happen,” Dev told ABP News.
Dev effectively echoed the sentiment of India head coach Ravi Shastri, who was recently asked to justify Dhoni's exclusion from India's centrally-contracted players.
Shastri on Dhoni
“It all depends on when he starts playing and how he is playing during the IPL. What are the other people doing with the wicketkeeping gloves or what is the form of those players as opposed to Dhoni's form? The IPL becomes a massive tournament because that could be the last tournament after which more or less your 15-man squad is decided,” Shastri told IANS.
“There might be one player who might be there and thereabouts in case of an injury or whatever. But your team, I would say, would be known after the IPL. What I would say is rather than speculating of who is where, wait for the IPL to get over and then you are in a position to take a call on who are the best 17 in the country.”
India have been pooled with South Africa, England, Afghanistan and two qualifying teams for the T20 World Cup. They won the tournament in 2007. They beat Pakistan in that final in South Africa. t the time, the tournament was known as the World Twenty20. India will host the T20 World Cup in 20201.