MS Dhoni was the center of Indian cricket for over a decade as he captained India to a T20 World Cup championship and an ICC ODI World Cup championship. Captain Marvel slowly started fading from the limelight once he relinquished the captaincy to Virat Kohli and has now been out of the public domain for close to a year.
MS Dhoni Disappears From International Cricket
When India lost the semi-final of the ICC World Cup in May 2019, MS Dhoni was expected to announce his retirement from the ODI game and play only T20s going forward. Dhoni has achieved everything there is to achieve in the ODI format. His fans expected him to keep going and play the T20 World Cup in October 2020 and then say goodbye.
MS Dhoni did not announce his retirement after the World Cup loss in 2019 nor did he divulge any of his plans to the public even though the media kept hounding him about his cricketing future. Instead, MS Dhoni asked the BCCI for a break from cricket and just went off the grid. He stopped playing both ODI and T20 cricket and made himself unavailable for selection.
The pressure to find out what MS Dhoni was going to do next got so intense that the Sourav Ganguly who was not yet BCCI President at that time said it was up to the BCCI to have a chit-chat with Dhoni and find out what his plans for the future was.
Ganguly is now the BCCI President but there has still been no confirmation as to what MS Dhoni’s plans to do next.
IPL 2020 Was Dhoni’s Chance To Shine
Head coach Ravi Shastri told the media that MS Dhoni was still part of the team’s T20 World Cup plans in Australia as they could not afford to overlook a player with his experience and caliber. Shastri said that although MS Dhoni has not played any international cricket, the 2020 IPL would be a great platform for Dhoni to show the selectors that he still has what it takes to play in the World Cup.
MS Dhoni has captained the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise from the first edition of the IPL and has had massive success with CSK winning three IPL tournaments. CSK along with the Mumbai Indians are considered to be two of the most successful IPL franchises.
MS Dhoni was in the news in early March when he once again surfaced in Chennai to be a part of the CSK IPL camp. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought things to an abrupt halt as the BCCI decided to postpone the IPL and CSK decided to dis-band their camp. MS Dhoni went back to his hometown of Ranchi and once again vanished from the public’s eye.
Will The Selectors Back MSD?
The BCCI is yet to make a decision on whether the 2020 IPL will be cancelled. They will wait till the end of April before making a decision. Should the 2020 IPL be cancelled, MS Dhoni will then not have any role to play in swaying the selectors over his selection for the T20 World Cup later this year.
The decision to select or drop MS Dhoni will be left up to chief selector Sunil Joshi and his panel. This will be a key decision for the selectors as the BCCI has now made the selectors accountable for the performance of the Indian team. What this means is that the selectors can no longer afford to let their emotions or MS Dhoni’s past achievements dictate whether he makes the team or not.
The selectors will have to look at the candidates vying for the wicket-keeper role and decide if MS Dhoni is their first choice or second choice. Rishabh Pant has had the most of the opportunities in MS Dhoni’s absence and will clearly be a front runner for the position given the fact that he is young and is a dynamic player in the T20 format. MS Dhoni should be the number 2 option as Sanju Samson hasn’t really done enough to push Dhoni out of contention. However, Virat Kohli has preferred having KL Rahul keep wicket in recent months and if Kohli decides to back KL Rahul, it could close the door on MS Dhoni and force him into retirement!