Chief selector MSK Prasad reveals India’s most important player for 2019 World Cup
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Chief selector MSK Prasad reveals India’s most important player for 2019 World Cup

National cricket team’s chief selector MSK Prasad has revealed that in his contention the veteran wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the key Indian player during the 2019 World Cup in England

cricket Updated: Feb 11, 2019 19:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
MS Dhoni,Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Dhoni
Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni during the recently concluded T20 series against New Zealand. (AFP)

National cricket team’s chief selector MSK Prasad has revealed that in his contention the veteran wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the key Indian player during the 2019 World Cup in England.

Dhoni played an outstanding three-match ODI series against Australia, slamming three consecutive fifties to guide India to a 2-1 series win. It was the first time a travelling Indian side beat Australia in a bilateral series Down Under. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman was awarded the Player of the Series gong for his efforts.

He continued his heroics in the subsequent five-ODI and three T20Is against New Zealand, where apart from his batting, the 37-year-old also earned plaudits for his stellar work behind the stumps.

Also read: Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane in contention for World Cup: Chief selector

Prasad believes that after a brief slump, Dhoni is back playing his natural game.

“The way Mahi has played in the last couple of series, in Australia and New Zealand, the message is very, very clear: now he has decided to play his natural way. This is the Dhoni that we know. We will be very happy if he can replicate those fearless knocks, using that brutal force he has within him. At some point, perhaps because of shortage of match time, he might have been short of runs. But now that he is playing continuously, you can see his touch once again”, the chief selector was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Prasad, who played six Tests and 17 ODIs for India, further added that the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season will be good practice for Dhoni in the lead up to the World Cup in England.

“Also, importantly, before India head to the World Cup, he will be playing the IPL. So he will be playing in 14-16 matches - all high-intensity games. That will only help him extend that form he has caught on the Australia and New Zealand tours. I am very happy with his batting.”

Also read: KL Rahul’s form has become a big cause of concern: Chief selector MSK Prasad

Prasad further added that Dhoni’s batting slump notwithstanding, there is no questioning his work behind the stumps.

“There are two aspects about Dhoni: one is his wicketkeeping and the other is his batting. We have never had any doubts about his wicketkeeping. With regards to his batting, we were a bit worried about his form. But we also knew that if he played more, he would regain his form, and that is part of the any player’s career - there are dips in form and performances.”

The chief selector further added that Dhoni’s experience and all-round excellence make him India’s most important player in the upcoming 2019 World Cup campaign.

“He is going to be the most important guy for India in the World Cup: be it in his advisory role to Virat, be it with his wicketkeeping, be it with his on-field mentoring of young players,” Prasad added.

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 19:30 IST