Mon | Aug 19, 2019

Dhoni skips Windies tour for army duty

Published:Monday | July 22, 2019 | 12:16 AM
Dhoni (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Dhoni (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

MUMBAI, India (CMC):

Media reports here say prominent former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will miss the tour of the West Indies starting next month as he opts for a two-month army stint.

The 38-year-old is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the country’s reserve force parachute regiment and is now expected to link up with the unit.

However, an unnamed Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) source said the move was not an indication of any immediate plans by Dhoni to retire.

“M.S. Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now,” the Press Trust of India quoted the official as saying.

“He is taking a two-month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment, which he had committed much earlier.”

Speculation has been rife about Dhoni’s future ever since India were knocked out of the ICC World Cup in England earlier this month.

Dhoni played 90 Tests before retiring from the longest format five years ago but has gone on to play 350 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 98 T20 Internationals.

An inspirational figure who led India to World Cup success in 2011, Dhoni has scored 10,773 ODI runs at an average of 50 to be one of just five Indian batsmen with over 10,000 runs in the format.

The emergence of the exciting wicketkeeper/batsman Risabh Pant has increased the speculation over Dhoni’s career, especially with the BCCI likely to use the West Indies tour to rebuild following the World Cup disappointment.

Dhoni’s decision to opt out of the upcoming tour means Pant, who was belatedly called up to the World Cup as an injury replacement, is likely to be first-choice wicketkeeper for the Windies tour.

The 21-year-old has already made two hundreds and two half-centuries in his nine Tests.