There was only a brief doubt if he would retain the hunger and the intensity to play another World Cup after he quit captaincy. The year 2018 was unspectacular as he averaged 25 runs in one-day internationals but the key people knew he would find his rhythm soon. This year, he has already scored more runs than he did in 20 games in 2018 and has silenced a lot of nay-sayers.
This will be his fourth, and almost certainly final, World Cup. Though he was captain himself of the squad that claimed the World Cup at home in 2011, he will want to be a part of a team that would replicate the success of the Class of 1983 in winning the crown in England. He knows that he will have to bring his all-round skills to the fore if the team were to realise that dream of winning in England.
You can be sure that he will be aware of the expectations that he would contribute not only with the bat but also as wicket-keeper who brings off lightning stumpings. More importantly, his inputs to skipper Virat Kohli will be crucial. Their remarkable chemistry will perhaps be the subject of some deep study later, but at the moment, India have drawn much from the insights that Dhoni has in the game.
There is no doubt that Dhoni's batting has undergone a change and it is only right that the team management does not expect him to play the finisher's role each time he walks out to bat. Of course, he can still find that extra gear to score at a quick pace. The respect that he draws from opposition, even at 37 years of age, is reserved for match-winners. And he certainly is one, worth his weight in gold.