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Dhoni will definitely mentor Virat: MSK Prasad

By Nilabh Aole -

India's limited-overs squads for the forthcoming series against England comprises of a broad mixture of young and experienced cricketers. Considering the fact that Yuvraj Singh, who is a veteran of playing around 300 ODIs is going to make a comeback while the Delhi youngster, Rishabh Pant has been included in the national squad for the first time. In this series, it will happen for the first time that Virat Kohli will be captaining the Indian side in the presence of for skipper, MS Dhoni, who recently stepped down as the limited overs captain. 

This series will be the only chance for the Indian ODI team to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy in England as they don't have any other ODI series scheduled before the tournament.

Talking to BCCI.tv, India's chief selector MSK Prasad talked about MS Dhoni handing over the captaincy baton to Virat Kohli. He said, "For Mahi (Dhoni), it is the country's interest that comes ahead of his personal interest. He would have done enough analysis and felt that Virat is the right man to lead. He is going to continue and that is the best thing to have happened. He will definitely mentor Virat and see to it that he becomes one of the best captains. Both on and off the field, he can play a big role in mentoring Virat."

Prasad also revealed the discussion happened between him and Dhoni during the Jharkhand’s semi-final game. He said, "He is a true servant of the nation and the game. His talks revolve around topics like passion, commitment, integrity, and patriotism. India is very fortunate to have someone like him represent them. He is a brand ambassador of Indian cricket. He stayed with the boys, mentored them and had team meetings. There is a thin line between emotion and profession and he has taken a professional call. He has taken the decision in the larger interest of the country and we must respect that."

Speaking of Indian team's future under the leadership of Virat, Prasad said, "Our target is to reach No. 1 in all three formats. We have done very well in Tests and are not too far away in ODIs (Rank 3) and T20Is (Rank 2). We have a clear-cut plan and are working towards it. We have enough plans for the period from the ICC Champions Trophy (June 2017) till the 2019 World Cup. We have close to 55 ODIs and we will make sure that those who play the 2019 World Cup, have enough experience before they play in the marquee event."

When asked about India's strong bench strength display during the test series against England, Prasada replied, "We have to credit the BCCI for having managed to bridge the gap between domestic, India A and international level. We must appreciate the concept of India A tours. The selectors have slowly inducted the youngsters into the Indian team. Both Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble are doing a fantastic job. You cannot have a better person than Rahul to guide the youngsters. Rahul has an enormous amount of experience and a youngster is going to benefit immensely."

Talking about the inclusion of young guns into the team, Prasad said, "Of the teams that play international cricket, most have very few first-class teams. In India, we have 28 first-class teams. When we have so many teams, we should have enough bench strength. The volume of players we have, the talent and potential we have, we need to keep our bench strength ready. "

Prasad concluded by talking about how proper rotation of players in necessary, he said, "What we need to do is rotate our players. If we can't recognize the performances in domestic cricket, the intensity of domestic players will come down. Those who do not play in the IPL may feel let down if their performance is not recognized. We have discussed this as selectors. We need to identify performers across the 28 teams and then groom them. With more India A tours, we will have more quality players."

Nilabh Aole

I am genuine cricket fan, who respect the game as well