Veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has thrown his weight behind compatriot MS Dhoni for 2019 Cricket World Cup selection, as the discussions surrounding India’s middle order spots intensify.
Yuvraj, who has 304 ODI caps and won Player of the Tournament in his country’s victorious 2011 Cricket World Cup campaign, cited Dhoni’s ‘cricket brain’ as a key component of his skill-set, and expressed delight at his ex-skipper’s return to form.
After coming in for criticism for a seemingly dwindling ability to finish off games and maintain lofty strike-rates, Dhoni has turned around his fortunes somewhat, notching three consecutive ODI half-centuries against Australia, earning him a Player of the Series award, before continuing to impress in the recently concluded series against New Zealand.
“I think Mahi (Dhoni) has a great cricket brain,” said Yuvraj, who last appeared for India back in 2017. “As a wicket-keeper, you are in the best position to monitor the game and he has done that fantastically over the years. He has been a great captain. (He’s) with the young players and guiding Virat (Kohli) all the time.”
Yuvraj suggested that Dhoni is returning back to his form of old – the 37-year old averages 50.80 from 338 ODIs with a whopping 70 half-centuries and ten tons.
“I feel his presence is very important in decision-making,” added Yuvraj. “He had a fantastic tournament in Australia, and it is good to see him hit the ball how he used to do. I wish him all the best.”
Yuvraj also brought to light the emergence of Shubman Gill, the highly coveted 19-year old batsman who made his debut recently against New Zealand, albeit with modest single-figure returns. He was the Player of the Tournament in India’s successful U19 Cricket World Cup campaign last year, and boasts a first-class average of 77.28 with at least a fifty in all of his nine outings.
“I was excited to see him (Shubman) play for India,” he said. “It is amazing, how he has improved so much. He came back from the (India) A tour, scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket, straightaway got an opportunity.”