New Delhi, May 5: Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's return on the cricket pitch was eagerly awaited by his fans with the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
MS Dhoni, who last played his international game during the Cricket World Cup in the semi-final against New Zealand, was preparing very hard in the nets for his franchise Chennai Super Kings at the pre-season camp. But the postponement of the cash-rich league for an indefinite period due to the Covid-19 pandemic was a major let down for the legendary cricketer's fans.
While several experts and former cricketers believe that the Ranchi cricketer might have already played his last game in India colours, Dhoni's former state teammate doesn't think so.
In an exclusive conversation with MyKhel, Dhoni's former Jharkhand teammate and long-time friend, Manish Vardhan Singh, said that the 38-year-old still has a lot of cricket left in him and he can very well be a part of the Indian side in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
"Mahi has a lot of cricket left in him and I am sure he's still capable of making India comeback because he's such a great player. He was preparing very hard for the IPL but unfortunately, this lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has postponed his return on the cricket pitch. I still believe that he's going to be a part of Team India in the T20 World Cup in Australia and think about his retirement after that," said Manish Vardhan Singh when asked about the two-time World Cup-winning captain's future.
Manish - who was the first player to slam a century for Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy - has spent a lot of time with Dhoni both personally as well as professionally. He knows the wicketkeeper-batsman much before Dhoni became a household name after his India debut in 2004.
Manish has played a lot of Ranji games with Dhoni and has been in constant touch with the veteran India cricketer. Talking about the speculations on Dhoni's retirement, Manish stressed a player like him puts the team before himself. He also claimed that all his friends have urged Dhoni to draw curtains on his international career on the pitch because he's still capable of donning that India jersey.
"We know him well, he always keeps team before himself but we have requested him to retire on the cricket pitch and not the other way round. He's the kind of a player who deserves a proper send-off not because he's a legend. He's still capable of winning India matches and contributing for the team. But at the same time, we also understand that he's a very down to earth person and that he'll never impose himself on the team, that's his nature," Singh added further.
Talking about Dhoni's humility, Singh said, "He is a very humble guy. If he finds an empty bottle lying somewhere on the ground, he picks it up and throws it in the dust bin. He never treats people badly and gives everybody respect. I have never seen him, show-off, how big a player he is. Nor have I seen him losing his cool. Even with the media persons during press conferences, he never gets angry. Though, he could be sarcastic at times while answering certain questions. No matter how tensed is the situation, he's always calm and composed. That's his greatness and that's why he gets so much of respect from the cricketers."