The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced the central contracts for the 2020 season for its players. However, former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has not been handed a contract. He belonged to Category A last season.
Dhoni has yet to step back on the pitch following India’s ouster from the ICC ODI World Cup semi-finals against New Zealand.
Dhoni’s future in the Indian team has been a hot topic for long. Earlier, head coach Ravi Shastri had revealed that the 38-year-old might well end his ODI career ‘soon’ while a place in the T20 side might be possible depending on his IPL performance. However, this particular move by the board has only raised serious doubts over the former India captain’s future.
A source close to the development revealed that the move wasn’t unexpected since Dhoni hadn’t played an international game for over six months.
“Let me clarify that one of the top-most BCCI office-bearers spoke to MS and told him about how they are going about in the central contracts. He was clearly told that since he hasn’t played any game in the said period (September 2019 till date), he cannot be included for the time being,” the official said to PTI on conditions of anonymity.
He also told that everything was done in an appropriate manner.
“Let’s not get into who spoke. The fact is that a player of his stature needs to be told that he is not being awarded a central contract for the time being, and it was done in an appropriate manner,” he said.
“There will be an Asia Cup T20 (likely to be shifted from Pakistan) and if Dhoni plays a certain number of matches, he will be automatically included. It’s not like he has been dumped for good. It’s just that he doesn’t qualify because he has not played,” the official said.
While things don’t necessarily seem out of hand (and hopefully they aren’t!), many fans got emotional about the announcement, many feeling that MS Dhoni might well retire soon.
Soon, hashtags like #ThankYouDhoni and #MSDhoni were trending on Twitter. Here are some of the best posts:
So his career ended the same way it started. Poetic.
— ` (@FourOverthrows) January 16, 2020
Throw back when Dhoni didn't let Tiranga touch the earth.. 🇮🇳
What a man"! 😭
— Pandey jee 🇮🇳 (@Im__AmBuJ) January 16, 2020
14 or 16 whatever no. of matches CSK will this year, will be cheered like nothing before..
looking at #Dhoni's Portfolio, I am sure he will get the 2nd biggest farewell of Cricketing History,
& ofcourse whole Qaiyanaat will work for a "Happy Ending" on 29 May 😁#ThankYouDhoni pic.twitter.com/bG01cfaUq6
— 🐣 (@tom_jerryi) January 16, 2020
The biggest news in the awarding of central contracts is that there is none for MS Dhoni; which suggests, as some fear, that he may have come to the end. Would love him to have a big IPL with CSK though. And after that……who knows!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 16, 2020
— Anubha Tripathi (@AnubhaTripathi_) January 16, 2020
— N e i L 🎸 (@TheRajz) January 16, 2020
After BCCI announced central contract of Indian cricketers
— Rigen Maharjan🇳🇵 (@RigenM18) January 16, 2020
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 16, 2020
Why trending #ThankYouDhoni He is not retiring this soon.He is not playing as of now BUT will soon be Back With A Bang.Dont Loose Hope People.He has to give lot of memories to us by playing multiple Brilliant knocks & his behind the stump commentary #MSDhoni My Forever Captain 💙 pic.twitter.com/5JJD3if5fL
— Mansi Shah (@mansishah1611) January 16, 2020
— Tweetera🐦 (@DoctorrSays) January 16, 2020
So no #MSDhoni in the list. In a sense, expected because he hasn’t been playing and the contracts start October 2019. So we are three months in already. Am sure there’s been communication between parties involved here. So #IPL next for him and take it from there I guess.
— RK (@RK_sports) January 16, 2020