One feature of Sandeep Patil’s regime as national selection committee chief has been making strong statements. A few months ago, after skipper MS Dhoni had questioned Ajinkya Rahane’s ability to bat aggressively in the ODI middle-order, his panel named him skipper to Zimbabwe. He also spoke of the confidence his panel had in Rahane.
India have surged to two back-to-back Test series wins in Sri Lanka and home under Virat Kohli and speculation had mounted whether the time was up for Dhoni. But Board secretary Anurag Thakur and Patil made it a point to publicly endorse the double World Cup-winning skipper on Saturday after announcing that he would lead the team in the World T20 in March-April. Thakur announced it first up, describing it as ‘breaking news’ before Patil took over.
Patil was emphatic to say that the selectors wanted to send message, and although he insisted that he was aiming at players other than those in the India squad, the message was clear that no one will be allowed to question Dhoni’s leadership. There had been speculation whether Dhoni will carry on till the WT20 or Kohli will be given captaincy in all three formats.
So, does it mean Dhoni won’t continue after the World T20? Any such decision will be taken by the player, and the selectors. If Dhoni had any unease with the team management, he should be able to breathe easy.