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Former India team director Ravi Shastri believes that it is time for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to let Virat Kohli captain in all formats of the game.
Kohli currently leads India in Test cricket, but Dhoni still holds on to the leadership position in ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.
Shastri, though, admitted that he would “definitely be thinking” of making Kohli captain across all three formats if he were a selector.
“I definitely think so [Kohli should be given the job across formats],” Shastri told India Today Television. “You have to see where India is going to go three years down the line. There are no major events till about three years down the line when you are back with the World Cup. So, this is your best time to think and build.
“India play hardly any one-day cricket if you see the next 18 months-two years, and the gaps between Tests and ODIs are massive. So, here’s your time to look ahead and see what you can do with an Indian side all-round three years down the line. If I am the chairman of selectors, I would be thinking in that direction, no question about it.”
Shastri admitted that making Dhoni give up the captaincy would be a tough decision, but one that has to be made “in the interest of Indian cricket”.
“It’s a catch 22, it’s a hard decision, but I would be thinking about it from now,” he said. “The game has to evolve, hard decisions have to be taken, such is life. And nothing wrong in that, it is in the interest of Indian cricket. If you see down the line and you think Dhoni is still the best captain, keep him as captain. But the issue here is the breaks [between Tests and ODIs], and do you have a guy ready [to succeed Dhoni]. My answer is you have a guy ready.”
Even if Dhoni is made to hand over the reins to Kohli, Shastri believes that he will still be a vital part of the Indian team in ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.
“By no stretch of imagination you are taking anything away from Dhoni [by making Kohli captain],” he said. “He can still contribute massively as a player. I think the time has come for to allow him to enjoy himself and enjoy the game.
“End of the day, it is about how hungry Dhoni is, how passionate he is, whether the juices still go as in wanting to play for India. Also the time has come where you have a guy whom you have groomed over a period of time. Virat is ready.”