England v India ODI - Men's
'That's rubbish': India say Dhoni not retiring
Indian coach dismisses theory that Dhoni's actions at Leeds were a sign of impending retirement
19 July 2018, 02:02 PM AEST
India coach Ravi Shastri says social media speculation that veteran MS Dhoni is about to retire is "rubbish".
Vision of Dhoni asking umpires for the match ball at the end of India's eight-wicket loss to England was taken by some conspiracy theorists as a sign that the 37-year-old was about to call it quits and he wanted to ball as a memento of his final international game.
But Shastri quickly squashed the rumour and said there was a simple explanation for Dhoni wanting to keep the ball.
"That's rubbish," he told Times of India. "MS is not going anywhere.
"MS wanted to show the ball to (bowling coach) Bharat Arun. He wanted to show him the wear and tear the ball had endured, to get a general idea of what the conditions were like."
Speculation about Dhoni's playing future has intensified in recent years as he draws closer to the end of his career; cricket.com.au reporter Sam Ferris was famously called onto the stage next to Dhoni at the 2016 World T20 after he asked the Indian if it would be his last major tournament.
But the wicketkeeper-batsman, a title-winning captain at both the 50-over and 20-over World Cup, appears on track for at least the 50-over version in the UK next year and possibly the next World T20 in 2020.
The veteran was booed by some sections of the Lord's crowd last week during a sluggish innings in the second ODI, a reaction that was followed by a strong defence from skipper Virat Kohli.
"This comes up again and again when he is not able to play in the normal way he does," Kohli said.
"It's very unfortunate people just jump to conclusions very quickly.
"When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever and when they don't go well, they all pounce on him.
"We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.
"Other people jump to conclusions, but we don't - we totally believe in him."
Former skipper Sourav Ganguly this week said if India are to persist with Dhoni at No.6 in their one-day side, the top order needs to ensure he only has a handful of overs to bat, which was not the case at Lord's.
Ganguly called for Test batsman KL Rahul to be given an extended run in the side at No.4, adding Dhoni has been "struggling" when he's been tasked with building a longer innings.
"If Dhoni's got to play, he has to get into positions where he has to keep hitting," Ganguly told Sony.
"If he has 24-25 overs to play, you've got to build an innings and he's struggling at the moment.
"He may turn it around, you don't know what's in store for great players - he's been a great player for India in the shorter formats - but at the present moment he's not been turning it around and it's been that way for a year, year-and-a-half or probably more.
"So they need a good player at four and five, and then if they think MS Dhoni is the way forward, him at six and Pandya at seven."