When a dejected MS Dhoni trudged back after being run-out against New Zealand in a World Cup semi-final in Manchester in the summer of 2019, many feared his career might have been over-just like India’s chances in that specific match.
Fast-forward more than 365 days later, not many can confidently say if the Indian captain will ever again don the blue of Team India.
Throughout his career, MS Dhoni has not been the one talk about his course of action. Irrespective of the results, the former India captain has gained admiration over the years for managing to be stoic in the most challenging times.
Apart from a few indirect rebuttals about the rumours of him retiring, there is no clarity around the much-discussed subject.
To add fuel to the topic, the wicketkeeper-batsman was not part of the central contract list dished out by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in January this year. The former India captain too has not done anything to prove otherwise, staying away from the cricket field since.
MS Dhoni’s 2020 plan
The Thala, as he is fondly known by the ardent Chennai Super Kings (CSK) supporters, Dhoni signalled his intentions to continue with the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) in March. However, the spread of Coronavirus caused the camp to be put off. Dhoni had trained in the lead up to this edition of the IPL, but with time- uncertainty over his future has only grown.
In July, the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the T20 World Cup 2020 citing the pandemic. The tournament which was scheduled to be hosted by Australia in October-November-was moved to 2022, with India already hosting the previously drafted 2021 edition
MS Dhoni, who has not played any international cricket since 2019 July, was touted to put himself in contention before the T20 World Cup and the IPL, was looked at as an ideal path for his return.
However, the postponement of the T20 World Cup has clearly come as a setback to Dhoni’s chances of returning to national cricket fold. By the next T20 World Cup is played in October 2021, Dhoni would be 40.
Just like a soap-opera, many have opined about MS Dhoni and his future plans.
Former India batsman turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said he had chat about the future of the former captain.
“During Virat Kohli’s wedding, I had a little corner time with him and he said that as long as I am beating the fastest sprinter in the team, I am going to consider myself fit enough to be playing international cricket or playing high-level cricket,” Manjrekar said on a cricket show on TV.
“So, as a batter, with MS Dhoni in the IPL, I don’t see much difference. In fact, the conditions that we have, I keep saying, is just perfect for Dhoni, where’s it’s going to be about the mind and not just power hitting,” he added.
“People like Tendulkar, Dhoni, these are champion cricketers. Once they are on a public stage, you will never see Dhoni ever on a public stage, like a cricket field, looking slightly unfit or unable to sprint or run…,” he further added.
WHAT A MOMENT OF BRILLIANCE!
— ICC (@ICC) July 10, 2019
MS Dhoni’s future
To be precise, no one knows. Dhoni, through his silence, has left everyone confused. Not only has he refused to talk about his future, but he has also been out of action for a sizeable amount of time. Had he been a player of lesser stature, it would have been safe to presume that he was unlikely to be picked to play for the country again.
The IPL this year, is perhaps the final route for Dhoni to get back in the Indian team set up, but it should not be looked at as a platform which determines his international future.
At the given moment, there is a lot of competition for the spot of a wicket-keeper batsman with a bunch of talented youngsters in the side. Former chairman of the senior selection committee, MSD Prasad had made it amply clear post the 2019 World Cup that the time is rife to move away from the services of MS Dhoni.
Will it be too late by the time next ICC assignment comes up in 2021, out time-or MSD will tell!