MS Dhoni for India camp post COVID-19 lockdown? Experts share their views

Dhoni is away from competitive cricket for almost a year now.

MS Dhoni | AFPAhead of stepping on the park whenever the COVID-19 lockdown is over, cricketers will have to regain an optimum level of fitness so that their bodies are ready to go through the grind and take the kind of workload international athletes are expected to endure.

Therefore, the BCCI is expected to organise a six-week camp for its top cricketers some time next month and speculation has started on whether veteran wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni will be a part of it.

See Also: "MS Dhoni should play in T20 World Cup", Kamran Akmal sees Dhoni as first choice wicket-keeper

It has been almost a year since Dhoni last played any form of competitive cricket. The World Cup 2019 semi-final against New Zealand at Old Trafford was his last appearance in Team India colours.

In a bid to stake claim for a place in the national squad for T20 World Cup, Dhoni was set to lead Chennai Super Kings during the 13th edition of Indian Premier League but the Coronavirus outbreak forced the BCCI to suspend the cash-rich event indefinitely.

Former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad told PTI that if there is a T20 World Cup happening, then possibly Dhoni can be called but if its a case of playing bilaterals, then the selection committee might think differently.

“I don’t know whether T20 World Cup is happening or not. If it is happening and you are just looking at the camp as a pre-cursor to the tournament, then MS should definitely be there. If it’s a case of bilaterals, then you already have KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson,” Prasad said.

Dhoni’s former teammate Ashish Nehra feels that if the 38-year-old wants to play, he should be in the team.

“If I was a national selector, MS Dhoni will be in my team but the bigger question is that whether he wants to play or not. It’s what Dhoni wants at the end of the day,” Nehra said.

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh wants to see some of the youngsters being called when the camp happens.

“I would like to see Suryakumar Yadav, the young U-19 leg-spinner (Ravi Bishnoi) and Yashasvi Jaiswal in that camp. They should get a chance to interact with the senior players. No one deserves it more than Surya, who should be in that T20 team,” Harbhajan said.

Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta feels that selectors should communicate with Dhoni.

“I mean if Dhoni is a part of that camp, it will be six weeks with the next batch of keepers who can pick his brains. Yes, if he is not a part of that camp, I would still not rule him out if he has a good IPL. Say he bats at No 4 for CSK and gets 500 runs, can you ignore him then?” questioned Dasgupta.

A senior official aware of selection matters said that it would be very surprising if Dhoni gets selected for the camp.

“He hasn’t played for one year. You haven’t seen in what shape he is right now. He is not in central contracts and he wasn’t even picked for the T20s against West Indies last year. Still if he is called for a camp, it will be surprising,” the official said.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 20 Jun, 2020

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