- Dhoni is set to return after 2 and a half months.
- He last played for India was in October during the New Zealand series.
- While Dhoni was off national duty, he did not play a single official match.
Little did we know these rules and policies came with a disclaimer that read, "not applicable for MS Dhoni."
When Dhoni walks into the field of Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on January 15 for the first ODI against England, he will make an appearance in the international arena after almost two and a half months.
The last time Dhoni played in the blue jersey was during the final ODI against New Zealand that happened on October 29. In five matches, the skipper scored 192 runs that included just one fifty.
Although India won the five-ODI series against New Zealand in October, the numbers testify that Dhoni was anyway not in a great form.
The stretched gap now could have hampered his form more, or he might be suffering from a minor injury. Nonetheless, that will not discover because Dhoni has not played a full match in a very long time.
The fact that he is the captain of the limited-overs side will ignore all the above aspects, and in turn, push India's chances in ODI and T20I series against England at stake.
Earlier, Dhoni had played the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Jharkhand before the Indian team for selected for the tour of Australia 2016. However, the ODI series against England begins on January 15, while the domestic tournament is due to start in February.
Moreover, since Dhoni has retired from Tests, playing in the Ranji Trophy is already out of the question.
"We have no information as to whether Dhoni will be playing any Ranji Trophy game or not. In any case, he has already retired from the longer format. The information we have is that he is doing his regular training with the Jharkhand team," chairman of senior selection committee MSK Prasad said on Sunday.
Even Jharkhand State Cricket Association secretary Rajesh Verma made it clear that as far as Ranji Trophy is concerned, Dhoni is a 'mentor' of the senior state team.
"Dhoni does not play Test cricket anymore, so the question of playing first-class cricket does not arise at all. He is a mentor of the Jharkhand team. He will play for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy," Verma said.
The BCCI should certify that Team India's benefit should be the priority and the treatment for the players - be it the skipper or any other player of the team - should be decided accordingly.
When Dhoni was with the Jharkhand team in Delhi when they played against Maharashtra at the Karnail Singh Stadium in the Ranji Trophy, he could have opted to play as well just to check on his form and fitness, keeping in mind the upcoming ODI and T20I series against England.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:42 PM IST