Kolkata, Jan 22: Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have quit as the India limited overs captaincy but he is still playing a proactive role in the team affairs.
MS Dhoni was on Saturday (Jan 21) was seen performing the leadership role, which included inspecting the pitch, ahead of the third and final ODI against England here on Sunday (Jan 22).
India went in for an optional practice on Saturday and Dhoni was seen doing what normally a skipper does -- inspecting the Eden Gardens pitch, taking local feedbacks and giving his teammates a pep talk -- with captain Virat Kohli deciding to skip the training session and head coach Anil Kumble not around.
After the practice session that lasted for about two hours, Dhoni, who stepped down from captaincy just before the ODI series, was seen heading to the pitch that looked as flat as it can be without any tinge of grass.
He went down on his knees to have a close look at the strip and felt the surface by placing both his palms.
In Dhoni's esteemed company was national selector and former Bengal captain Devang Gandhi with whom the Jharkhand dasher had a lengthy discussion afterwards.
In India's 15-run win over England in the second ODI, Dhoni was seen playing a proactive role behind the stumps, especially in the death overs, as he was seen making the field placings and giving his inputs to Kohli during the run chase of the visiting team.
Hailing Dhoni's new-found role, India seamer Bhuvenshwar Kumar said: "A wicketkeeper is always the second person after captain to assess the match condition and give inputs.
"He (Dhoni) watches everything closely. He gives feedback how a batsman is playing. When skipper Virat is fielding it's always easy for Dhoni to communicate his ideas on what can we do. It's very useful when your wicketkeeper becomes proactive," Kumar said at the pre-match press conference.
Apart from Kohli, the ones to skip the match-eve optional practice session included Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuvraj Singh, Lokesh Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar oversaw the practice session.
(With inputs from agencies)