MS Dhoni retirement: Plenty of speculation ahead of India’s squad announcement on July 21
There is plenty of speculation over MS Dhoni's India career. © AFP

Will he, won’t he? There seems to be no clear picture regarding MS Dhoni‘s presence in India‘s upcoming tour of the West Indies.

The BCCI selection committee will convene on Sunday in Mumbai to choose India’s limited-overs and Test squad for the series comprising three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests in the Caribbean. There have been reports that Dhoni will not tour with the limited-overs squad, and that he is now entering a transitional phase.

Dhoni’s former team-mates have voiced their opinions. Virender Sehwag feels that the Indian selectors need to have a dialogue with Dhoni and tell him where he stands. Gautam Gambhir believes that now is the time for the selectors to groom Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan.

(READ: Selectors to meet on July 21 at 11:30am to pick team for West Indies)

Former India batsman and one-time chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar is of the view that the selection committee has to be frank with Dhoni.

“That’s a call which the selectors and the Indian team management will have to take,” Vengsarkar told The Indian Express. “I’m not talking about Dhoni, but it depends on the form and fitness of that particular player. His usefulness to the team and his motivation level, these factors are very important. You have to think about the future as well.”

MS Dhoni retirement
Will former India captain MS Dhoni tour the West Indies? © AFP

Another report had Dhoni’s childhood coach from Ranchi, Keshav Banerjee, claiming that the former India skipper’s parents do not want to see him in an India jersey anymore.

(READ: MSD, ODI No 4, injuries and rotation the dilemmas for BCCI selectors )

Dhoni’s future has been widely speculated since India lost to New Zealand in the ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final on July 9. Dhoni, 38, kept wickets in each of India’s World Cup matches, but speculation of his impending retirement grew after he struggled in patches to dominate with the bat in England.

In eight innings during the World Cup, Dhoni scored 274 runs at an average of 45.50 and strike-rate of 87.78. Of his eight innings, two were not out.  Dhoni’s sequence of scores read 34, 27, 1, 28, 56*, 42*, 35 and 50.

In the semi-final against New Zealand at Old Trafford, India had slipped to 5/3 in pursuit of a target of 240. Instead of Dhoni at his customary No 5 spot, India’s management sent in Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya before him.

(READ: Is Ajinkya Rahane’s poor county season with Hampshire a concern for India?)

It was a decision that Sunil Gavaskar termed as “baffling”.

“At that stage you did not need two players playing in the same mould,” he told the host broadcaster. “Both (Pant and Pandya) are attacking players. It could have been an MS Dhoni coming in at this stage and talking to Rishabh every second delivery. He would have assessed from the non-striker’s end what exactly Rishabh Pant is feeling: is he getting a little impatient?

“You have sent two people whose natural game is to go bang-bang, and at that stage, with the ball doing all kinds of things and the pressure being there, four wickets gone – you wanted somebody to hang in there. That was baffling.”

In 350 career ODIs, Dhoni has amassed 10773 runs at 50.57, with 10 hundreds and 73 fifties. As a wicketkeeper, he has effected 444 dismissals in ODIs.