The question which has been pondering upon millions of cricket fans over the past few months might finally have an answer. The answer came in the form of the contract list released by the BCCI, which had a prominent name missing from it. MS Dhoni was not included in the list of players that saw several upgrades and new names come up. While the actual reason behind the former captain’s exclusion might never be known, let us have a look at the 5 possible reasons why Dhoni did not make the cut.
1. Age is not always just a number
While plenty makes the mistake of living in the past, it is time to accept the fact that Dhoni is not getting any younger. The wicket-keeper has 15 years of international experience and will turn 39 later this year. While there is no question upon his fitness, the question lies in the fact that how long he can continue with the same rigorous intensity.
Having retired from the longest format of the game back in late 2013, Dhoni was actively involved in the other formats which are finally taking a toll upon his body as the age spiking on and upwards. With the new look India focusing more on the young blood and already having a crop of players with sufficient experience, the BCCI may have finally decided that its time to cut the cord.
2. Incorporation of Pant into the squad
Just like a goldfish cannot be dropped into a new tank without letting it settle, it is difficult for a player to make his mark in the squad when introduced without caution.
Pant has had a roller coaster of a career so far with his test numbers doing justice to his ability whereas the limited-overs, not so much. The young wicket-keeper has visibly had a hard time to settle into the squad in Dhoni’s presence. Despite the invaluable experience of having Dhoni as a mentor, it will eventually be clouded by the fact that it is a constant reminder of whose shoes he has to fill.
With BCCI making the adhesion of the young players a priority, it seems clear that the board have opted for priority over legacy.
3. Waning ability
Arguably one of the greatest batsmen of his generation, MS Dhoni has played across all the batting positions possible. The former skipper had gone on to amass over 10000 runs in the ODI format despite playing in the lower middle order for the majority of his career.
At one time, one could trust MS Dhoni with the fate of match with his conversion rate justifying the same. While Dhoni has managed to do this difficult task over a long period of time, the precise calculation of a chase or the ability to hit boundaries at will has naturally waned.
BCCI must have thought that it is time maybe to keep the gun without the bullets on the shelf.
4. Lacklustre outings
Apart from a stellar outing Down Under, MS Dhoni has very little to show in recent times. Over the latter phase of his career, the wicket-keeper batsman has received flak for his slow rate of scoring. While he has been marginally impressive for the Chennai Super Kings, he has not been able to translate the same into the International circuit.
Statistics tilt to show that the Dhoni of the present is just a mere shadow to the Dhoni in his prime.
MS Dhoni decided to take some time off from the game ever since the country’s heart-wrenching exit from the World Cup at the hands of the Kiwis. While multiple injury pile-ups were initially considered as the reason, Dhoni proceeded to join the military troops soon after. The World Cup-winning skipper proceeded to withdraw from tours going forward until now.
With his status still unclear regarding his involvement in the International level, the BCCI have held off the contract as they must be skeptical of handing out a contract to a player who has no clarity about his future.
The saga might be coming to a conclusion, but by the end of it Dhoni will wither Bow down as a hero or exit as a villain.