CHENNAI: Ahead of the team selection meeting for the series against South Africa, talk is growing that Mahendra Singh Dhoni might make way for Test skipper Virat Kohli in ODIs too. With India hosting the T20 World Cup next year, Dhoni might continue to lead only in this format.
Though it’s not official yet, the selection meeting to pick the T20 and ODI squads is likely in New Delhi on September 15. After Dhoni’s retirement from Tests, selectors have preferred two captains in different formats for eight months. With the Test team tasting success in Sri Lanka under Kohli and breaking a four-year away drought, people seem to be in favour of the Delhi batsman in all formats.
It is understood even the selectors think that the contrasting personalities and difference in captaincy styles might affect the team in the long run. Though there are Test and ODI specialists, Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, R Ashwin and Umesh Yadav form the nucleus of the team across formats. There is apparently a feeling that Kohli in charge with Dhoni as player is the way ahead.
“Even in the previous selection meeting there were talks about Kohli being named captain for all formats. But it is also worth keeping in mind that Dhoni is the most successful India captain ever and Kohli is just finding his feet as far as captaincy goes. With India set to play mainly at home next year, it will only be an advantage for Kohli to take over the reins now rather than in an away series,” a source privy to information told Express on Tuesday. “Dhoni might continue to lead in T20s though.”
While Dhoni’s form with the bat hasn’t been bad (846 runs at 47 since 2014), the burden of leadership over eight years seems to have taken its toll. “Everybody has a sell-buy date and it applies to captains as well. Dhoni is at the twilight of his career and there is no certainty whether he will continue after the World T20. So if a change of hands happens, it could well begin with South Africa series,” the source added.
It is also learnt that the upcoming A series against Bangladesh might offer a clearer picture, as Dhoni has not played any match since three ODIs in Dhaka in June.