Former India captain MS Dhoni could make his first-class return after more than five years as he has joined Jharkhand’s squad ahead of their next Ranji Trophy fixture against Utttarakhand. It isn’t confirmed whether he will play the match but there is every indication that he will be part of the playing XI. The surprising update comes on the day when BCCI dropped him from the central contract list.
It also suggests that the team management might have asked him to play some competitive cricket if wants to remain in the scheme of things. It’s not that he hasn’t taken part in practice sessions with Jharkhand’s Ranji Trophy team earlier but this time, the scenario is different as Dhoni isn’t a confirmed selection in the national team now.
Also, Jharkhand need a wicketkeeper-batsman in the absence of Ishan Kishan, who has flown to New Zealand with India A squad. If Dhoni plays for Jharkhand, it will after three years that he will ply his trade for his state team.
He led Jharkhand to the semi-final of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016/17, where they lost to Bengal in Delhi. Dhoni was available for 2017/18 season but decided against participating in domestic competition. Since he doesn’t play first-class cricket, Dhoni also missed Ranji Trophy matches in the last season.
Dhoni hasn’t played any competitive game since the semi-final of World Cup 2019. He was expected to make a comeback during the home season but Dhoni extended his break. As of now, there is no word on his retirement and with him joining the training camp, it hints that Dhoni wants to make a comeback.
He is confirmed to return in IPL 2020 and his form will decide whether Dhoni makes a comeback for the T20 World Cup. The former Indian captain will be leading Chennai Super Kings in the T20 league. The 13th edition of IPL starts in March.