Former Team India captain M.S. Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the team's upcoming tour to West Indies.
The news comes a day before the scheduled selection committee meeting in Mumbai to pick the squad for the series. An honorary lieutenant colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, it is learnt that Dhoni will be spending the better part of the next two months with his regiment.
The star wicket keeper was expected to be at the centre of discussions during the selection process in the wake of his seemingly reduced skills with the bat during the recently concluded World Cup. Dhoni, who was dropped from the squad for the T-20 series against West Indies and Australia last October, stood at the risk of being ignored for the upcoming tour as well. The decision of the selection committee regarding him would also have been an indication of the team’s future.
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The news of Dhoni’s withdrawal comes amidst the rumours of his retirement. However, his manager, Arun Pandey, had recently ruled the possibility of Dhoni retiring in the immediate future.
"We would like to clarify three things. M.S. Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now, He is taking a two-month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier. We have now intimated his decision to captain Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors M.S.K. Prasad” a senior BCCI official told the PTI on Saturday.
The full-fledged West Indies tour from August 3 to September 3 will have India playing three T-20 Internationals, three One Day Internationals and two Test matches. With Dhoni now out of the series, Rishab Pant is likely to be behind the wicket.
Dhoni had also been in the news during the World Cup for having an insignia printed on his glove during the India-South Africa group stage match. Having the regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Forces on his glove had violated the ICC regulations.
(With PTI inputs)