Dhoni’s career hinges on Champions Trophy success

Kolkata: India stalwart Mahendra Singh Dhoni could continue in international limited overs cricket till the 2019 World Cup if he succeeds in the coming ICC champions Trophy, his childhood coach Keshav Banerjee said here on Monday.

The iconic wicketkeeper-batsman, who announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2014 December, quit the captaincy from the limited overs sides’ earlier this year. Recently, he was also removed as the captain of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rising Pune Supergiants.

Though the 35-year-old continues to play the One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), many feel that his best days are behind him.

Dhoni has enjoyed a storied and highly successful career, captaining India to glory in the 2007 World Twenty20 championship, 2011 and the 2013 Champions Trophy. India will defend Champions Trophy in June.

The Ranchi star was also a central figure in the country achieving the top-ranked status in Test cricket.

“Now, Dhoni’s only focus is on the Champions Trophy. Success in that tournament would help him continue in international limited overs cricket till the 2019 World Cup,” said Banerjee.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the launch of the under-14 Yo Cup at the Mainland-Sambaran Cricket Academy, he praised Dhoni’s will power and ability to analyse the game.

“With age, it’s not possible to maintain the same strike rate as when you were younger. But Dhoni still has a sharp brain. The two qualities which set him apart from the others is his will power and ability to analyse a game,” said Banerjee.

Lauding Dhoni, Banerjee said that as a youngster, the cricketer was known for his punctuality. “And even today he has not changed a bit,” he added.