Clearing the air around his return in competitive cricket, former India skipper MS Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the home T20I series against Bangladesh in November. Dhoni will also not participate in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. According to a report published in the Mumbai Mirror on Sunday, the veteran wicketkeeper has decided to extend his break from cricket till November this year.
The 38-year-old had previously missed the West Indies tour after taking a break of two months which also meant that he missed the ongoing home series against South Africa. During the break, Dhoni served in the territorial regiment of Indian Army for two weeks. He was posted in Kashmir during that period. The extension of the break means that fans will have to wait to see their favourite stumper back in action.
This means that Dhoni would be available to play for India only in December when the West Indies tour the country for three T20Is and as many ODIs. The series is scheduled to start on December 6. Dhoni had last played for India on July 10 when the Men in Blue lost to New Zealand in the semifinal of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England. His break would effectively be nearly six months long.
This comes at a time when there has been speculation over the 37-year-old’s future in the team, especially with the team management grooming 21-year-old Rishabh Pant as his replacement behind the stumps ahead of next year’s World T20.
Recently, rumours about Dhoni announcing his retirement were doing the rounds after captain Virat Kohli tweeted a pic of him and Dhoni during a match with the caption: “A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test.”
When Kohli was asked about it in a press conference ahead of India’s first T20I against South Africa in Dharamsala, the skipper said that he had nothing on his mind when he posted the tweet.
“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 the farthest stretch of my imagination (that it could be taken as retirement tribute) while putting that picture out on social media,” he said.