The Indian cricket captain M.S. Dhoni made his criteria for team selection clear on Monday.
“I don’t agree with the idea of having a younger side just for the sake of it. Whether you are 32-years old or 42 or 45, age is not really a factor in selection. I think form and fitness matter more. If you are fit, performing well and, most importantly, if you are not a liability to the team, you can make it,” Dhoni said on the sidelines of a promotional programme here.
Dhoni’s statement came even as the youngsters have been impressive on the recent Zimbabwe tour and with India ‘A’ in the tri-series in South Africa.
While it leaves a window open for seniors such as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, he also made it clear that fitness would be a priority.
Asked about the constant comparison between various forms of the game, Dhoni said that there was no conflict. “Every format is important. They are inter-related and I feel one affects the other, whether as a game or in individual performance.
“It is up to the players to take a call on it,” he said, while refusing to say anything on whether he would himself let go of any one form.
Dhoni praised Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the recent series, saying the latter’s biggest strength was his expressiveness.
“I think it is very important for an individual to be himself and that is Kohli’s biggest strength. He has changed a lot in the last one year in every way — in his batting, how he approaches the game, his thinking and performance on field and as a person. And it is all for the better,” Dhoni said while launching the online portal of Fitsoul, a sports goods and accessories store.
Refusing to join the list of former captains naming their all-time XI in ODIs, as done by Sourav Ganguly, he said, “I, for one, will never make an all-time XI. I think it is not possible, the eras are different and there are so many great players. We should respect everyone who has ever played for India, in any form and for however small period. Let’s leave it at that.”