New Delhi, July 20: Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday made himself "unavailable" for the Indian team's tour of West Indies as speculations raged on about his future.
An Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, it is learnt that Dhoni will be spending the better part of the next two months with his regiment.
As per reports, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has approved Dhoni's request to train with the regiment.
Dhoni, who was awarded the honorary rank of a Lieutenant Colonel in 2011, belongs to the Territorial Army's 106 Infantry Battalion. It is one of the two battalions that the Army has for the parachute regiment.
A top BCCI official confirmed the development as per a PTI report. "Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies as he will be spending two months with his paramilitary regiment," the official said.
Dhoni, 38, has intimated his decision to the BCCI prior to the selection committee meeting on Sunday.
With Dhoni pulling out of the tour, Rishabh Pant is expected to be the first wicketkeeper in all three formats while Wriddhiman Saha will be Pant's understudy in the Tests.
Dhoni's fortunes have dwindled since the 2015 World Cup. 2016 and 2018 were the worst years for him in terms of run-scoring - he aggregated just 278 runs from 10 innings in 2016 (average of 27.8) and 275 runs from 13 in 2018 (average of 25).
Although he bounced back and averaged 60.61 in 2017 and again has an average of 60 in 2019, it is his strike rate, which has been a huge cause of concern in the last 4 years. It hasn't crossed 85 in any calendar year in this period and fell to a shocking 71.42 in 2018.