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Gautam Gambhir expresses his views on MS Dhoni’s future in the team

MS Dhoni will be looking to silence his critics beginning with the first of five matches that will be played at Dambulla on Sunday

Gautam Gambhir
Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir feels that a player has to perform consistently in the in the run-up to the ICC 2019 World Cup in order to be included in the squad for the mega event. Because many in the Indian cricket fraternity are of the opinion that the 35-year-old, MS Dhoni’s performances and not pedigree should be the criteria for selection.

Even though Dhoni’s  fitness is not a concern as of now, his inconsistency of late have sparked doubts about his position in the team, more so because there is a tough fight for each spot in the team. The wicketkeeper-batsman too will be subjected to such competition in order to retain his spot in the team.

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“The only way he (Dhoni) can survive till the 2019 World Cup is if he keeps performing.and that should be the criteria for irrespective of whether he is MS Dhoni or someone like Manish Pandey who’s been selected to play for the country,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.

He was considerate towards how unfairly Dinesh Karthik was treated by the Indian selectors despite him performing well whenever he got the opportunity including the recent series in the Carribean.

“Somewhere I feel that Dinesh Karthik missing out has been a very massive loss for us because he wasn’t given a lot of opportunities and whenever he got the opportunity, he did well in the West Indies. He could have the backup wicket-keeping option,” he said.

Identifying the core

With the 2019 ICC Wolrd Cup less than two years away, Indian skipper Virat Kohli had commented recently about the need to start defining specific roles for specific players and start building the core team for the future. While the dilemma for the opening slot may have cleared a little bit because KL Rahul has been given the role in the middle order, but that only increases the problem for occupying potential players in the Indian middle order.

The competition majorly revolves around Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedhar Jadhav set to fight it out for the two spots available in the 5-match ODI series against Sri Lanka which begins today. Question marks have been raised about Dhoni’s place in the side as he is now racing against time to be in contention for the World Cup to be played in two years time.

Despite not being the aggressive batsman of his early days, Dhoni still remains an integral part of the Indian limited-overs side having remodelled his game to suit the needs of the team. The impressive performances of rookie Rishabh Pant and the experienced Karthik have however led to suggestions that Dhoni’s place in the side is no longer guaranteed and Gambhir feels that consistency and performances should be taken into account to decide on the best player for the job.

Apart from this, the Indian selectors still have another task cut out if they plan to include Karthik and Pant in the future. Meanwhile, Dhoni will be looking to silence his critics beginning with the first of five matches that will be played at Dambulla on Sunday. As Gambhir said, if the performances are good, there is no reason why Dhoni should not be in contention for the 2019 World Cup, despite his age.

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