Dhoni Unavailable for West Indies Tour, Takes Two-Month Break to Serve Regiment

Mumbai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni made the task of the Indian selection committee somewhat easier on the eve of their meeting to pick the squad for the West Indies in Mumbai on Sunday, July 21. The former India skipper made himself unavailable for the limited-overs matches in the Caribbean as he would be serving his paramilitary regiment for a couple of months.

“Dhoni met a top BCCI official in person and explained why he cannot go on the tour of West Indies. Dhoni is a honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the parachute regiment of the territorial army. He had made a commitment to reserve the regiment for a couple of months even before the World Cup,” a BCCI official stated.

Ever since India exited the ICC World Cup after a loss in the semifinals to New Zealand earlier this month, there has been a lot of speculation regarding the availability of Dhoni in international and whether he will be considering retiring from all forms of cricket.

“This is just a two-month sabbatical and not a decision to retire in any way. He hasn’t made any decision regarding his future as yet. The decision has been communicated to the chairman of selectors as well,” the source added.

Dhoni was in the eye of the storm during the World Cup as well when he sported the ‘Balidaan’ badge of the Para Special Forces on his wicketkeeping gloves in the first match against South Africa at Southampton. He subsequently had to hide the logo on his glove after the International Cricket Council (ICC) raised an issue.

Earlier, on Thursday, Dhoni’s friend and manager Arun Pandey had said that the wicketkeeper batsman did not have any immediate plans to retire from international cricket.

“He has no immediate plans to retire. The constant speculation over the future of a great player like him is unfortunate,” Pandey told PTI.

India’s next limited-overs assignment will be a three-T20 series against South Africa in India from September 15.