New Delhi: There has been a long and never-ending debate on if India's limited overs skipper should call times on his playing days and hand the captaincy responsibility to Virat Kohli sooner rather than later.
But, the backing of selectors and indeed the team members has instilled the required confidence in Dhoni to continue his fight. His incredible fitness is another factor behind BCCI's decision to stay put with him despite fluctuations in form.
Every cricket player goes through this phase when age catches up and people start questioning the player's ability to carry on. Even the great Sachin Tendulkar wasn't immune of this phase, there were people questioning his decision to continue playing as well.
In an interview with TOI, the Master Blaster expressed his opinion on the situation surrounding MS Dhoni.
"His performance shouldn't be related to age. I still remember that there were articles that T20 cricket is meant for youngsters, which is all wrong. I mean, Brad Hogg is playing at 44. It's wrong to say that I scored a double hundred in ODIs at 38. Fitness is all that matters. If a player is physically fit, mentally in a state of mind to play for India, let that be his choice. He knows his mind and body better than anyone else. He's the best judge."
Sachin clearly thinks that as long is Mahi can keep himself fit for the sport, it should be his choice in deciding when to call times on his career. Performance is more depended on fitness than age.
Speaking on fitness, Tendulkar also held special praise for Virat Kohli for keeping himself incredibly fit and setting a benchmark for cricketers to follow.
"He's always been hungry, and a good student of the game, his commitment has been very good. He's surely taken the 'fitness factor' to a different level. It'll have a good effect on the team. I feel the new generation has more awareness about health. All the things are changing when it comes to approaching any sport. There's more study behind everything. That's clearly showing. It's a progression on how players prepared themselves in the 90s. So was the case with players in the 70's. I remember that a laptop was introduced in our dressing room in 2002. It was revolutionary at that time. Things had started changing slowly. There were foreign trainers and physios in the dressing room. The diet, training methods, the way the players practise, everything has changed."
Fitness, as they say, is the key to performance no matter what the sport is and it should continue to play the same role until eternity.