With MS Dhoni left out from BCCI’s annual retainership list for 2020-21 season, speculations were rife that this is the end of the road for the two-time World Cup-winning captain and many concluded Dhoni will never play for India again, including former India international Harbhajan Singh.
Later in the day. Dhoni was snapped practising with the Jharkhand Ranji Trophy team essentially hinting that he is not done with cricket as of yet. So what was the reason for Dhoni’s omission from the list for the first time in 15 years?
Well, it is quite a simple logic.
Dhoni does not make the list because he has not played international cricket for over six months now and by virtue of the that he cannot be considered for a central contract for the next period, but this also does not imply that he won’t be eligible for selection to any international squad either.
Dhoni last played a Test in December 2014, eventually announcing his retirement from the format. His lastT20I came in February 2019 and his last ODI was India’s semi-final loss to New Zealand in July 2019.
According to a source-based story in The Times of India, unnamed officials confirmed this bit of information. ”
“But that doesn’t mean he won’t be considered for any selection in the future,” said sources. “Then it is up to the selectors and it is up to individual performances. What if he single-handedly takes CSK to victory in IPL? Won’t that matter? People should stop jumping the gun. His absence from the annual retainership doesn’t mean a thing,” sources said.
Dhoni has played his last ODI
But, by being left out of the central contract list, it is clear that Dhoni will not be playing ODIs for India again. In 2020, India are scheduled to play only nine ODIs all of which will be played before the IPL. After IPL, India’s international fixture is the ICC World T20 in Australia starting in October.
With Dhoni not being part of the ongoing Australia series and the New Zealand series, it is unlikely he will be picked for the South Africa home series in March as well. He will play the IPL and make a strong case for his selection for the World T20. And that, in all likelihood will be his final hurrah. Of course, with Dhoni being the most popular and influential figure after Sachin Tendulkar in Indian cricket and hurried setup ODI series with West Indies or Sri Lanka or even England may take place between June and September to arrange a farewell series.