MS Dhoni, who has been out of international cricket for almost four months, has been in the news due to speculations of his retirement, but head coach Ravi Shastri said on Tuesday that the senior cricketer’s involvement in the T20 World Cup will depend on next year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
Dhoni, who last played against New Zealand in the World Cup, missed out on the tour to West Indies and the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh. He will also skip the upcoming white-ball assignment against West Indies at home, which starts from December 6.
Now, with the rumours about his involvement still in the fray, Shastri addressed the subject in Kolkata after India’s series win against Bangladesh.
“It all depends on when he starts playing and how he is playing during the IPL,” Shastri told IANS.
Shastri believes that with the IPL set to be the last T20 engagement before the World Cup in Australia, the competition would more or less provide him with his 15-member-squad. He would keep a keen eye on the 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman and note his performances on his own.
MSK Prasad, the chairman of the selection committee, had earlier said that the panel has “moved on” from the topic of Dhoni’s retirement and has explicitly expressed their intent to promote more new blood ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
But, his replacement Rishabh Pant has not hit the ground running. He was even released from the Test squad for Bangladesh to take part in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament earlier this week so that he can stay in limited-overs mode.
In an attempt to not fuel the rumours, Dhoni has remained tight-lipped about his future course of action. But, he has been spotted training with Jharkhand’s under-23 team in Ranchi a few days back.
A legend in his own accord, Dhoni led India to two world titles — the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup at home. He has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20 Internationals for India, accumulating over 17,000 runs.