Former India international Irfan Pathan feels that it’s the BCCI that needs to answer whether MS Dhoni should be part of their plans for the ICC T20 World Cup slated to be played later this year. Also Read - Nepal Airport Under Renovation Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
The speculations around Dhoni’s future are at an all-time high considering he hasn’t spoken anything on his international career having not played any competitive cricket since ICC Cricket World Cup last year. IPL was to be the tournament where he would make his return to the field and a good show would have opened the doors for his international comeback. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown
With reports emerging that the IPL season could be shelved this year amid coronavirus pandemic, the path to India comeback seems more difficult than ever for Dhoni. Also Read - COVID-19 Cases Cross 1.6 Lakh-mark; Death Toll Above 4,600; Shah Speaks to CMs Over Lockdown Extension | Key Points
Pathan feels that meriting a place in India squad would require some game time and should Dhoni play, he has to be part of the national team. “He obviously needs to play,” Pathan told The New Indian Express. “If he does, he should for India. He is the most amazing cricketer we have. He has been fantastic for the country. He has given so much to the world of cricket.”
In the time that Dhoni has been absent from the international stage, stretching back to July 2019, India have given ample opportunities to Rishabh Pant and then experimented with KL Rahul as wicketkeeper too. Pathan wonders should Dhoni be drafted in, will it be fair on those who have been playing regularly.
“But if he (Dhoni) is just drafted in, will it be fair for those who have been playing regularly is an important question. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant have been playing consistently for a year. So, this question needs to be answered by the board,” he said.
With sporting world coming to a standstill and India in the midst of a complete lockdown, Pathan has advised athletes to maintain their fitness in whichever way possible.
“It’s very important for sportspersons to ensure that they don’t gain weight. If this scare is vanishing in two months, then they need to be on top of their fitness. To make sure of that, they need to train at least 15 minutes to half-an-hour everyday. Upper-body exercises on one day, lower body on the next, and core workouts every other day. They need to train at least four days a week,” said Pathan, who played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is before announcing retirement.
While saving lives and ensuring safety of everyone should take priority in the current health crisis that has gripped the world, Pathan feels the sporting authorities need to monitor situation every month before making a big decision to postpone or cancel big events.
“Sporting activities should obviously be postponed. Nothing is bigger than life. Like the postponement of IPL, everyone should consider the situation every month. Be it ICC or any national board, all organisations need to see the situation in Australia (for the T20 World Cup) every three, four weeks and then take a decision. If something has to be deferred or cancelled, so be it. You cannot do anything because you need to save lives, which should be the most important thing on everybody’s mind at the moment,” the 35-year-old said.