MS Dhoni is unavailable for the upcoming tour of West Indies as he has taken a two-month sabbatical after the World Cup to serve in his Territorial Army regiment, a BCCI official said on Saturday. This was a commitment he had made much earlier, the official was quoted as saying.
Dhoni holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army unit of the Parachute Regiment (106 Para TA battalion). This is an honour he was accorded by the Army in 2011. Dhoni was given this honour along with Abhinav Bindra and Deepak Rao, a leading expert in close combat warfare.
In 2015, Dhoni became a qualified paratrooper after having completed five parachute training jumps from Indian Army aircrafts in the Agra training camp.
Dhoni has been seen in his uniform on many occasions. In the recent World Cup, there was a controversy over a military logo on his wicketkeeping gloves, something that the ICC wanted removed.
However, the military uniform is more than just a prop for him.
When he had been given the honorary rank of Lt Col in 2011, Dhoni had said, “Since childhood, I had wanted to join the Army. I used to visit the cantonment area and seeing the soldiers I used to think that one day I will also be among them.”
The 38-year-old former India captain has played 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20Is, amassing 10,773 ODI runs at an average of over 50 and 4876 runs at an average of 38.09 in Test cricket. With speculation continuing over his future with the Indian team, Dhoni’s longtime friend said on Friday he has no plans to retire immediately.