Following the ODI series against the visiting Australian cricket team comes as a wake-up call for the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI). It gives a hint of how dire a situation they are in right now and what kind of competition they are looking at in the ICC World Cup 2019 come June. It was also a reminder of how badly do they still need Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be included in the final roster.Virat Kohli's Commander In Chief
Yes, Virat Kohli has proven his worth maybe a million times both as a batsman and a leader and his efforts were even recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) when they honoured the 30-year-old with three of the most prestigious awards in the game - Men's Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and ODI Cricketer of the Year while also naming him the captain of the Test and ODI Teams of the Year.
However, the man himself has agreed to the fact that he can afford the luxury of fielding at the boundary whenever Dhoni plays from his team. A big fan of the former skipper's ability to lead, Kohli trusts Dhoni's decision-making, especially in crunch time, when the match is on the line.
Kohli's frustration and anger in the final overs of Indian bowling in the fifth ODI were enough to understand how gravely he missed having 'Mahi Bhai' by his side.Skills Behind The Stumps
Rishabh Pant may turn out to be a great substitute for MSD in due course of time and as his childhood coach Tarak Sinha very rightly said that it is unfair to compare a seasoned veteran like Dhoni to a fresher like Pant.
Having said that, Pant will get a lot of chances to brush up his skills behind the wicket. For now, at least till the World Cup is over, India can't afford to have the kind of slip-ups the 21-year-old did in the last two ODIs.
"Yeh aank band karke rokega. Dusra waala daal sakta hai isko." MS Dhoni from behind the stumps reads Boult, suggests Kuldeep to bowl a googly. Kuldeep obliges and Rohit takes a simple catch at first slip.
NZ have been bowled out for 157. #CricketMeriJaan #NZvIND
India also missed how Dhoni reads the game and the batsman's mind and instructs the bowlers accordingly. Success of Indian spinners in the recent past has a lot to do with Dhoni's observations from behind the stumps. On the contrary, his absence from the roster has led to bowlers like Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav being thrashed by the batsmen from Down Under.Dependable On The Crease
His capabilities as a batsman also needs to be taken into account. Albeit his consistency to score big runs and hit long shots has gone down drastically in recent days, but one can still bet on Dhoni's ability to stay on the crease.
During the T20I and ODI series in New Zealand and the partnership between him and Jadhav, Dhoni made sure that his side doesn't lose any more wickets while enabling his partner to score big runs on strike.His Locker-Room Aura
Finally, just the mere presence of a personality like Dhoni in the locker room brings a sense of stability to the team. After the win in the first ODI, Jadhav openly advocated that notion: “Every time I see 'Mahi bhai', it instills confidence in me. That sort of aura is like, that you see him and feel that 'I will deliver today'. He has the knack of getting the best out of every player and that's what everybody loves about him.”