There is a raging debate in Indian cricket circles regarding the future of MS Dhoni. Rishabh Pant's continued failures in limited overs cricket has prompted many people to say Dhoni should remain an integral part of the Indian cricket team at least till the end of the World T20 in 2020 which will take place in Australia. However, former Indian cricket team skipper Sunil Gavaskar has said it is time to move beyond Dhoni and that one must back Rishabh Pant and invest in future talent like Sanju Samson.
Speaking in a television interview, Gavaskar said, "No, we need to look beyond. Mahendra Singh Dhoni at least doesn't figure in my team. If you are talking about the T20 World Cup, I will certainly think about Rishabh Pant. If I need to have an alternate option, then I will think of Sanju Samson because Sanju is a good keeper as well as a good batsman. If I have to think of the T20 World Cup, I would think about youth as we need to look forward. Dhoni has made great contribution to Indian cricket but it's now time to look beyond him."
Dhoni has not played for the Indian cricket team ever since the semi-final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup clash against New Zealand in Manchester. After the end of the tournament, Dhoni took a two-month break in which he served in the Indian territorial army for two weeks and made himself unavailable for selection for the West Indies and South Africa series.
However, Pant's inconsistency has resulted in some worried faces when it comes to Dhoni's back-up. In the series against West Indies, Pant managed just one fifty in the whole tour and he struggled with the bat in ODIs and Tests. Gavaskar believes that Pant will have a clear picture once the World T20 comes closer.
"What is Rishabh's position in batting order -- No 4 or 5? Going in to the World T20 in Australia, we will know his (batting) position better. The way he (Pant) started his career in Tests, it was so good and it is obvious that he will be scrutinised. I think whatever is happening is for his good as he can rectify the mistakes he is making," Gavaskar said. Pant will have one more chance to rectify his poor Twenty20 form when India take on South Africa in the final Twenty20 International at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday.