MS Dhoni, who is spending quality time with his family after being rested for the T20I series against Australia, got an advice from former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday. Ganguly believes that the 2007 World T20-winning skipper will have to "keep performing at the top level" to retain his position in the Indian team. Calling Dhoni a champion, the 46-year-old said: "He's a champion... Fantastic career for 12-13 years since winning the World Twenty20".
In the absence of Dhoni, young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was given a chance during the three-match T20I series that ended in a draw on Sunday. However, Pant disappointed and managed to score mere 20 runs in two matches.
After the T20I challenge, the four-match Test series, starting on December 6 at Adelaide, will be a litmus test for the 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman. In the longest format, he will have to vie for a spot with experienced wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Dhoni can make a comeback in the three-match ODI series against Australia, starting on January 12 next year, as India prepare for the ICC World Cup, to be hosted by England and Wales next year.
Dhoni led India to their second World Cup triumph in 2011, however, this fact will not be enough for the 37-year-old to secure a place in the ODI team. According to Ganguly, he will have to keep performing otherwise he'll lose his spot to someone else.
"Just like everyone else he has to perform. There's one must in life: whatever job you do, wherever you are, whatever age you have, how much experience you have, you have to keep performing at the top level otherwise someone else will take your place," Ganguly commented.
"I wish him (Dhoni) all the luck because we want champions to go on a high, whenever he goes. I still feel he can hit the ball in the stands. He's a phenomenal cricketer," he added.
Having represented India in 515 international matches, Dhoni has 10,173 runs to his name from 332 ODIs and 1,487 runs from 93 T20Is. Dhoni retired from the longest format in 2014 after scoring 4,876 runs in 90 Tests.
Ganguly, who captained India from 2000 to 2006, took a trip down the memory lane to recall how former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf admired Dhoni during India's tour in 2006.
"I still remember Pervez Musharraf asking me from where did you get him? 'I told him he was walking near the Wagah border and we pulled him in'," Ganguly said.
According to Ganguly, there won't be many changes in Virat Kohli-led ODI team ahead of the World Cup. "I am not a selector but I expect 85-90 per cent of the current team will play in the World Cup," he said.
(With IANS inputs)