India’s veteran stalwart player Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been “rested” for the final two ODIs of the ongoing series against Australia. This may also mean that Friday’s match in Ranchi could well be Dhoni’s last international outing on home soil. “We will have some changes in the last two games. Mahi will not be playing in the last two games. He will be taking rest ,” India’s assistant coach Sanjay Bangar told media persons after the third ODI in Ranchi.
With India not having any home matches till October, the match in Ranchi could well be the last time that Dhoni has played in India Blues on home soil. The World Cup is widely believed to be Dhoni’s swansong in India colours.
The other wicketkeeper in Team India squad – Rishabh Pant will be a like-to-like replacement for Dhoni in hosts playing XI. The men in blue are looking to test all possible combination and are aiming to fine-tune their squad before the ICC World Cup 2019, scheduled to played in England & Wales.
India will also have a keen eye on Mohammed Shami, who suffered a minor injury during the third ODI in Ranchi. Shami was hit on his leg by a straight drive and was forced off the field for a while. However, he returned soon after to complete his full quota of overs. Shami’s fitness is set to be assessed later, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in line to replace him if needed.
“Shami also had a hit on the leg. We have to see whether he’ll be fit for the game. If he’s not fit then Bhuvneshwar Kumar will play. Those decisions the captain and coach take it before the game,” said Bangar.
However, the Jharkhand State Cricket Association believes that they would get one limited overs match during the next home season where Dhoni could bid a proper farewell.
Knowing Dhoni’s allergy to publicity, the chances of that happening is pretty dim at the moment. Pant is expected to don the gloves during the last two ODIs in Mohali and New Delhi.
(With Agency Inputs)