New Delhi, Sep 14: India head coach Ravi Shastri has almost confirmed that former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will certainly play the 2019 ICC World Cup.
The 55-year-old former India captain lauded MS Dhoni's brilliant all-round performance in the recently concluded ODI series in Sri Lanka.
Dhoni scored 162 runs from 4 innings and remained unbeaten on all four occasions. His strike rate was also over 82, which is not bad considering the batting conditions in Sri Lanka weren't easy and the asking rate was always low. Shastri also claimed that Dhoni's performance in the island nation was just a trailer and the entire film is yet to come.
In an interview to India TV, Shastri - the former India captain - said if Dhoni continues with same consistency then there's no stopping him.
"A player is evaluated on the basis of his current form and fitness and Dhoni has both. If you see his wicketkeeping, he is the best in ODI cricket. His fitness is superb, he batted well in Sri Lanka. And let me tell you, it was just a trailer what you saw in Sri Lanka now wait for the movie. If he continues to play like this, there no question of not having him in the team for the 2019 world cup. You can't even think of a team without Dhoni," he added.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was equally good behind the stumps as he became the first man to effect 100 stumpings in the limited-overs format. Both skipper Virat Kohli and coach Shastri were mighty pleased with the 36-year-old's performance who still walks into the field as the captain of the captain.
Shastri compared Dhoni with the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Kapil Dev and said his achievements need to be respected.
"Where else will you find a legend like MS Dhoni? Dhoni is in the same league as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar or Kapil Dev. We have to respect his achievements," Shastri stressed.
Talking about the future of senior India discards Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, Shastri said doors are not closed for them.
"I have said it time and again that doors are not closed. They will be inducted only after they meet the fitness parameters."
Talking about the fitness of the entire team Shastri said, "I have no problem. The amount of cricket that we are playing, we need at least 20 to 25 players. It is very difficult for a single player to play all forms of cricket. Players need rest."