Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's form has been questioned often lately this year since the tour of England and his fitness has been of some concern especially with the 2019 World Cup around the corner. India great Sunil Gavaskar feels that the next few months will be crucial for the former skipper.
Since Dhoni retired from Test cricket, the 37-year old has been kept in the frame for the limited overs format, however, he was recently not selected for the T20Is against West Indies and Australia consecutively. With Dhoni not playing domestic cricket and not being on national duty, his form is certainly taken into consideration.
It is expected that Dhoni will return to the Indian ODI squad against Australia which will begin in January. India will then travel to New Zealand for a limited-overs tour, which comprises of 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
Gavaskar feels that Dhoni needs to give his absolute best in the upcoming tours if he doesn't want his position in the World Cup squad questioned.
"He (Dhoni) didn't play the T20Is against Australia, before that he didn't play the West Indies Tests, and then he is not playing the Test series against Australia. So, he last played in October and will next play in January, which is a huge gap. But if he doesn't do well on tours of Australia and New Zealand, then there will be more questions asked on his place in the World Cup," Gavaskar told India Today.
"As you grow older and if there is a gap in your [competitive] cricket, your reflexes will slow down. If you play any form of cricket at the domestic level, you get an opportunity to play long innings, which serves as a good practice for you."
Dhawan, who was dropped from the Test team, is spending time with family in Melbourne following the T20 leg of the Australia while Dhoni has had no cricket since the ODI series against the West Indies ended on November 1.
The Master Blaster questions the BCCI as to why is the board allowing players to skip domestic cricket when they aren't on national duty.
"We shouldn't ask Dhawan and Dhoni 'why you are not playing domestic cricket'. We should, in fact, ask the BCCI and selectors that why are they allowing players to skip domestic cricket when they are not on national duty. If the Indian team has to do well, players have to be in prime form and for that they have to play cricket," Gavaskar said.