Dhoni to Remain Unavailable for India Selection till November: Report
Former India captain MS Dhoni, who took a break from cricket to serve in the Army after the 2019 World Cup, will not be available for selection until November this year.
Dhoni’s break was supposed to be a two-month one that saw him remain unavailable for selection for both the tour of West Indies as well as the home T20Is against South Africa.
However, a report in the Mumbai Mirror suggests that he will now be extending his break from cricket, meaning he will miss out on both the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well as the home T20I series against Bangladesh.
This would mean that the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman is likely to return to action only when the West Indies come visiting in December.
Dhoni’s future has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent times. Ahead of India’s first T20I against South Africa, skipper Virat Kohli had put out a tweet that many interpreted to be a retirement post.
"A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test," Kohli had tweeted. It led to rumour mills going into overdrive till chairman of selectors MSK Prasad termed it as "false news".
When Kohli was asked what was on his mind when he tweeted, the smiling skipper replied: "Mere zehen mein kuch naahi thaa yaar (I had nothing in my mind). I was sitting at home and I normally put out a photograph and it became a news item."
"I think it was a lesson for me, that the way I think, the whole world does not think that way. There was nothing in farthest stretch of my imagination (that it could be taken as retirement tribute) while putting that picture out on social media," he added.
In Dhoni’s absence, team management has been putting their hopes in Rishabh Pant to step up to the plate and prove that he could be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper for years to come.
Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar believes the time has come for Dhoni to close the curtains on his career without being pushed out of the door.
"Nobody knows know what is in MSD's mind. Only he can clarify what he thinks his future with Indian cricket is. But I think with him being 38 now, India should be looking ahead. Because by the time the next T20 World Cup comes around he will be 39 years old," Gavaskar told India Today.
"His value to the side is always going to be fantastic. Not just the runs he will score or the stumpings he will effect.
“But his overall presence on the field will be calming for the captain because the captain gets the benefit of his views. So that is a huge plus. But I do believe the time has come.
"Everybody has a shelf life and I do believe with the greatest of respect to Dhoni and I am a fan as millions of others; I just believe he should be going without being pushed out. He should be going on his own terms."
Dhoni’s last match for India was the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, which they lost to New Zealand by 18 runs.