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MS Dhoni in focus at training as India gear up for ODI series vs Sri Lanka

MS Dhoni was among several other Indian cricketers who took part in an optional practice session ahead of the five ODI series against Sri Lanka, starting on Sunday

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 17, 2017 21:28 IST
India vs Sri Lanka,MS Dhoni,Indian Cricket Team
MS Dhoni’s performance for the Indian cricket team in the ODI series against Sri Lanka will be closely watched.(AFP)

Former India captain MS Dhoni was the centre of attention as India’s ODI specialists enjoyed their first training session at Dambulla on Thursday, ahead of India’s five-match series against Sri Lanka, starting on Sunday.

It was an optional session where Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah looked like hitting the right notes.

Focus on Dhoni

The spotlight though was on the 36-year-old Dhoni, who now has to fend off questions about his future with alarming regularity.

READ | Why MS Dhoni refuses to see too far ahead in cricket

He warmed up by facing different bowlers in the nets, both Indian and local Sri Lankan bowlers.

Initially, he looked a bit rusty, given that he has not played competitive cricket for almost a month now. But he shrugged it off easily and played some handsome shots against both the pacers and spinners, warming up for the challenges ahead.

However it is never easy to judge a batsman like Dhoni on form, as he bats lower down the order wherein the impact made is higher than even averages swelled by unbeaten innings.

READ | Why MS Dhoni may not make it to 2019 Cricket World Cup

Pale shadow of past

Yet, there is no denying that the former skipper has looked a pale shadow of his past glorious self on many occasions, the last of which was in West Indies recently, when he scored a painful 54 off 114 in the fourth ODI at Antigua, again as India lost the game by 11 runs.

In comparison, an individual athlete to a team sport performance though, Prasad did stretch the analogy a bit.

READ | Hardik Pandya credits MS Dhoni for keeping cool head in nervous Nineties

However, it cannot be denied that Dhoni continues to maintain an impactful presence in the Indian dressing room.

High standard of fitness

Much of it is to do with his high standards of fitness, comparable to the youngsters in the Indian squad, certainly miles ahead of the likes of Yuvraj and Suresh Raina. Then there is the element of experience that he brings to the table.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 21:28 IST