Former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni has made himself “unavailable” for the tour of West Indies but he has clarified that he has no intention of retiring any soon. Ever since the ICC World Cup 2019, the rumors of his retirement have been making rounds, bu, Dhoni has told the BCCI that he will take a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve his paramilitary regiment as he is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army.
Talking about the same to PTI, a senior BCCI official said, “We would like to clarify three things. MS Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now. He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier. We have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.”
Since Dhoni hasn’t decided on retirement yet, now the selectors have to make their decision as well. India will play three T20Is, as many ODIs and two Tests in the tour starting August 3. It is believed that the selection committee chaired by MSK Prasad wants to move forward with an eye on future but they would also like to get a sense of where the Indian captain stands on this issue.
Rishabh Pant is expected to be the first wicketkeeper to replace Dhoni in all three formats while Wriddhiman Saha will be Pant’s understudy in the Tests. The selector’s focus will now be shifting towards T20 cricket keeping the World T20 in mind, which is scheduled to be held in Australia next year.
The selectors need to find the answer to some questions. Whether they see Dhoni playing till World T20? If the answer is yes, are they willing to give him 15 to 18 T20s during the phase as a keeper-batsman? If that answer is also yes, it will depend on the skipper Virat Kohli sees him as a batsman in T20s where keeping isn’t the primary skill required.
However, once the BCCI take over after the elections and if Dhoni decides not to retire, there could be some twists and turns in the coming months. Till then, all roads lead to the BCCI headquarters on Sunday where Prasad will address the most defining press conference of his eventful tenure.