Mahi, who has not been seen on the pitch playing with team India the World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in July, will be making his highly-awaited comeback in the IPL beginning March 29. The addition of two new members, including the chairman, in the national selection committee, has not changed the panel’s stance on MS. Dhoni, who will “have to perform” in the upcoming IPL to be considered for T20 World Cup selection, a top BCCI official said.
The Sunil Joshi-led selection panel met for the first time in Ahmedabad on Sunday to pick a rather “straightforward” squad for the three ODIs against South Africa beginning in Dharamsala on March 12. Fit-again Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Shikhar Dhawan made their way back into the squad. Former Chief of Selection Committee Joshi had made it clear that the team has moved on from Dhoni and if he wants to join the squad then he has to play well to be considered for selection in T20 World Cup.
Dhoni, who has not played since the World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in July, will be making his highly-awaited comeback in the IPL which is beginning on March 29.
“It was a pretty straightforward selection meeting and since Dhoni was obviously not in the reckoning this time (for South Africa series), there was no formal talk about his future,” a BCCI source told.
Further, he added, “He will be back in the reckoning only if he has a good IPL. And why only him, there are so many senior and young players who will play in the IPL. If they do well, they are ought to be considered too. So, you could see some surprise inclusions”.
The much-awaited T20 World Cup will commence in October- November and will be played in Australia. Not only IPL but the games team India will play after the IPL leading up to the mega event will also be a factor in the final squad selection.
“But the performance in the IPL could be the clincher,” the source added.
Head Coach of India Ravi Shastri too has hinted that Dhoni could be back only after a good IPL but his future in cricket is truly a subject of intense speculation as he has not played a game in more than seven months.
With Dhoni’s obvious successor Rishabh Pant not setting the world on fire and KL Rahul being groomed into a full-time wicketkeeper-batsman, MS. Dhoni’s comeback cannot be eliminated!
However, thousands of Mahi fans will be able to witness him in action when Dhoni will lead Chennai Super Kings against defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL opener match at Wankhede Stadium on March 29, 2020.