New Delhi, January 16
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s omission from the central contracts list was imminent and he was duly informed before the national selection committee finalised the names, a top BCCI official said. “Let me clarify that one of the top-most BCCI office bearers spoke to MS Dhoni and told him about how they are going about it in the central contracts. He was clearly told that since he hasn’t played any game in the said period (September 2019-till date), he cannot be included for the time being,” the official said.
I don’t think he (Dhoni) is going to play for India again as he had decided that he will play (only) till the (2019) World Cup. He must be preparing for the IPL. I am fully confident that Dhoni will have a great IPL for CSK. But having said that I don’t think he will play for India even if he has a great IPL. What if Rishabh has a great IPL? Would you drop him (Pant) from the playing XI — Harbhajan Singh
Asked who among BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and CEO Rahul Johri spoke to Dhoni, the official refused to divulge the name. “Let’s not get into who spoke. The fact is that a player of his stature needs to be told that he is not being awarded a central contract for the time being and it was done in an appropriate manner,” he said.
However, the official said that if Dhoni makes it to the World T20 team in Australia (October 2020, after current contracts’ duration ends) or even before that, he can be included on a pro-rata basis. “There will be an Asia Cup T20 (likely to be shifted from Pakistan) and if Dhoni plays a certain number of matches, he will be automatically included. It’s not like he has been dumped for good. It’s just that he doesn’t qualify because he has not played,” the official said.
The existing rule for awarding central contracts is that a player needs to compete in a minimum of three Tests or eight ODIs to qualify. He can also get in by playing a stipulated number of T20 games (depending on the season when there are more T20s).
Asked if Dhoni might announce his ODI retirement after this development, the official was evasive. “That is something only Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows and no one else,” he said. — PTI
Dhoni starts training with Jharkhand Ranji squad
Dhoni began practising with the Jharkhand Ranji Trophy squad today amid fresh speculation on his future. The 38-year-old showed up at his home team’s net practice in Ranchi, indicating that he is gearing himself for the upcoming IPL. “Even we did not know that he was going to come and train with us. It was a pleasant surprise. He batted for a while and did the usual training routine, “ a source close to the Jharkhand team management told PTI. “We are expecting him to train with the team regularly from now on. His presence can only help the players.” In fact, Dhoni has bought a new bowling machine for his training. While the Jharkhand team will have their red-ball routines, Dhoni will primarily practise against the white ball. PTI