MS Dhoni had made himself unavailable for selection since the end of World Cup 2019, and on Thursday the Indian cricket board left the former World Cup-winning captain out of its Annual Player Contracts for the 2019-20 season.
The development has raised fresh doubts on the future of the wicket-keeper batsman who has not featured in an international match since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand last year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced central contracts for players for the 2019-20 season.
BCCI announces Annual Player Contracts for Senior Men’s team for the period from Oct 2019 to Sept 2020. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah in Grade A+; R Ashwin, R Jadeja, B Kumar, Mohd Shami, C Pujara, KL Rahul, A Rahane, S Dhawan, I Sharma, K Yadav, R Pant in Grade A. pic.twitter.com/8rUn2VzSYf
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2020
Mayank Agarwal, who has emerged as the standout member in the longer format of the game, has also been included in the Grade B list, which also features Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar are the new faces, which have been added to the Grade C list. The list also features Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, and Shardul Thakur.
Soon after the development #ThankYouDhoni started trending on Twitter and was top on Thursday afternoon.
Since India’s exit from the World Cup, the veteran cricketer has been on a self-imposed hiatus. In this period, Dhoni served the 106 TA Battalion (Para) in Kashmir, where he performed regular army drills like patrolling, guard and post duty.
After his two-weeks stint with the army, Dhoni has occasionally been seen at various events and has also released multiple videos of him spending time with his family.
Since the World Cup, he skipped the tour of the West Indies and the home series against South Africa, Bangladesh, the West Indies and the ongoing one against Australia.
The former India skipper has helped India earn several accolades in the global arena, including the inaugural World T20 in 2007, World Cup in 2011, and ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.
He has so far featured in 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is and has amassed over 17,000 runs. He also has a staggering record of 829 dismissals behind the stumps.
BCCI Central Contracts for October 2019 to September 2020:
Grade A+: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah.
Grade B: Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal.
Grade C: Kedar Jadhav, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar.