Coach Ravi Shastri has confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still in contention for a berth in India's squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
India won the inaugural World Twenty20 (since renamed the T20 World Cup) after beating Pakistan in the 2007 final in Johannesburg in South Africa. India reached the 2014 final, too, but lost to Sri Lanka in Dhaka. India are 4.50 second favourites with Bet365 to win the 2020 T20 World Cup.
The 38-year-old Dhoni, who represents the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, used to captain India's T20I team. He hasn't played a Twenty20 International since February 2019, though, with the young Rishabh Pant currently the preferred wicketkeeper-batsman in the shortest format. The talented Sanju Samson is evidently ahead of Dhoni in the pecking order, as well.
What Shastri said about Dhoni
“A good IPL, and Dhoni puts himself into contention. Then it is the selectors' job to see what they want to do, but if he has a great IPL then he puts himself into contention,” Shastri told CNN-News18. He later elaborated on where in the batting order India's wicketkeeper-batsman will be positioned.
“They will all bat round number five or six. You will need power at the back, explosive power. All the three names you took, they all have that explosive power. So you will have to see consistency, experience, conditions – all that will come into play when the selectors look at it.
“Then you will have to see conditions come into play, experience comes into play, who will adapt best in those conditions. Would you put it beyond anyone if a guy is performing and the guy who has never had fitness problems in his entire career? For me, Dhoni is like Kapil Dev. Kapil never had a problem right through his career.
“You will have to see who will do the job at what number, what role, who is the best guy. You will take experience into account. You will take youth into account. You will take flamboyance into account. And who fits into that number the best whether it is X, Y or Z. Plus we are playing in Australia, so who will adapt to those conditions the best.”
India have been pooled with England, Afghanistan, South Africa and two qualifying teams for the 2020 T20 World Cup. England won the World Twenty20 in 2010. The West Indies are the reigning champions on the back of 2016's title.