Mumbai, Jan 16: In a massive setback for the fans of veteran India cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former captain has been left out of the central players' contract for the year 2019-20.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday (January 16) announced the Annual Player Contracts for Team India (Senior Men) for the period from October 2019 to September 2020 and Dhoni found no mention in the list. This hints that MS Dhoni's stint with the Indian cricket is all but over.
Dhoni last made his international appearance for the Men In Blue during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-finals against New Zealand. The 38-year-old cricketer hasn't played any form of cricket and speculations have been rife ever since over his international career. With the latest development, it seems this is the end of the road for the most decorated player and captain in Indian cricketer.
Dhoni, who retired from the Test cricket in 2014, featured in the Grade A in the previous season's annual contract but failed to make the cut this time around.
The payment structures for Team India (senior men) are as under:
Period (Oct 2019 to Sept 2020)
Grade A+ - INR 7 Crore
Grade A - INR 5 Crore
Grade B - INR 3 Crore
Grade C - INR 1 Crore.
Captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah are the ones who have been included in the A+ Grade.
The likes of Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar have been included in the list of centrally contracted players for the first time.
Earlier last week, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar questioned Dhoni's sabbatical from the game, asking "does anybody keep himself away from playing for India for that long?"
The Ranchi cricketer didn't find his name in India's squad for New Zealand but he is likely to make a comeback with the IPL.
Asked if Dhoni can make India's T20 World Cup squad, Gavaskar said, "Fitness is something that I can't tell you anything at all. The question that needs to be asked is of MSD himself. He has not made himself available to play for India since 10th of July (9th actually).
"That is an important question. Does anybody keep himself away from playing for India for that long? That is the question and therein lies the answer," said the former India captain.
In a recent interview, head coach Ravi Shastri said Dhoni may soon end his ODI career but could be in contention for a T20 World Cup berth provided he is in good form.