Dhoni to serve with army instead of touring West Indies | The Daily Star
05:32 PM, July 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:19 PM, July 21, 2019

Dhoni to serve with army instead of touring West Indies

India look to future with West Indies squad

Former India captain M.S. Dhoni is to skip his country's tour of West Indies to spend two months in the army but is not planning retirement, reports said.

The 38-year-old Dhoni, a national hero having led India to their 2011 World Cup triumph, is an honorary lieutenant colonel in a reserve force parachute regiment.

The wicketkeeper batsman has told the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he wants to miss the tour so he could spend time with the regiment, a BCCI official told Press Trust of India news agency late Saturday.

"M.S. Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now," the official insisted.

"He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier," the official added.

Dhoni got into trouble during the World Cup in England for having his regiment's insignia on his wicketkeeper's gloves.

India will start a tour of the West Indies on August 3 that includes two Tests, three T20 internationals and three one-day internationals.

Following India's failure to reach the World Cup final earlier this month, India's selectors, who met in Mumbai on Sunday, had wanted to use the tour as the start of its rebuilding process.

Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014 and while he has remained a mainstay of India's one-day teams, his form dipped during the World Cup and speculation has mounted about when he will call it a day.

The BCCI official, however, said that the board would not tell any individual when to quit.

Dhoni's absence means that Rishabh Pant should take over as number one wicketkeeper for the the West Indies.

India look to future with West Indies squad

Indian selectors on Sunday announced fresh, young faces for the upcoming West Indies tour following the shock semi-final exit in the recent World Cup, and amid speculation about the future of veteran MS Dhoni.

India will start a tour of the West Indies on August 3 that includes two Tests, three T20 internationals and three one-day internationals.

Chief selector MSK Prasad said Virat Kohli would continue to lead in all three formats against the West Indies.

The tour is seen as the start of India's rebuilding process after the World Cup disappointment.

Rishabh Pant, a young and flamboyant wicketkeeper batsman who was also a part of India's recent World Cup campaign, was named in all three squads for the upcoming tour.

The other youngsters are Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and the yet uncapped fast bowler Navdeep Saini, who were included in the white ball T20 and ODI squads.

The selectors also included uncapped leg spinner Rahul Chahar for the T20s.

Prasad brushed aside speculation about the future of former skipper and wicketkeeper batsman Dhoni after his form dipped during the World Cup.

"Retirement is purely individual. Legendary cricketer like M.S Dhoni, he knows when to retire," Prasad said.

"We don't need to discuss anything on it, because first of all he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming some youngsters."

Reports on Saturday said Dhoni was skipping the West Indies tour to spend two months in the army, but is not planning to walk away from the game.

There have been calls from some quarters for Dhoni, 38, to retire. He remains very popular across India for leading the side to 2011 World Cup triumph.

India Test squad

Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, C Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav

India ODI squad

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini

India T20 squad

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini

India will be putting more focus on Twenty20 cricket in looming series ahead of the World T20 next year in Australia.

Dhoni's withdrawal from the tour is certain to increase pressure for Pant to get priority for the World T20.

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