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BCCI’s Central Contracts: Is It The End Of The Road For MS Dhoni?

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2020 could be the year MS Dhoni will bid farewell to the game of international cricket. The veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman, who has been on a sabbatical post the ICC World Cup 2019, has been making the news for a while now. Fans, critics, media and former cricketers alike have been talking about Dhoni. There has been speculation regarding his retirement from Team India colours. And the latest move by BCCI put more weight into the same.
On Thursday, Dhoni was omitted by the BCCI from a 27-member list of central contract awardees for the 2019-20 season. This was a move that came as a surprise, however, going by what has folded since the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup, the decision by BCCI makes sense.
Dhoni hasn’t taken part in any assignments since Team India’s World Cup exit to New Zealand at Old Trafford. Dhoni is still in a sabbatical and this move by BCCI has got people talking once again. Dhoni has also abstained from domestic cricket of late and is set to be seen next in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
Now with him being omitted from the contract list, the near of Dhoni’s end to a prolific international career is on the cards. Interestingly, the champion cricketer had held an ‘A’ category contract in the previous cycle viz. 2018-19. Dhoni has been tight-lipped about his future, however, the markings are there in the zone for Dhoni to retire from all formats.
He had earlier retired from Test cricket in 2014, though he continued representing India in shorter formats of the game. The player led the Indian cricket team to victory in three major global tournaments, but stepped down as captain in 2017. Here we look at the BCCI contracts and also what the future holds for Dhoni.

No Dhoni in BCCI’s central contract list for 2019-20

BCCI central contracts
The BCCI announced the contract list for the period between October 2019 to September 2020. Three players were included in the Grade A+ category. Indian captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah are the players in this category. The three would be getting a sum of Rs 7 crore.

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Meanwhile, Grade A will see players get Rs. 5 crore. 11 players have been named in this category. Grade B sees five players make the cut, whereas, Grade C has eight names in the list.

It was a positive sign to see seasoned Test players like R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara be included in Grade A despite featuring in just one format.

Grade A+ (Rs 7 crore) Grade A (Rs 5 crore) Grade B (Rs 3 crore) Grade C (INR 1 crore)
Virat Kohli R Ashwin Wriddhiman Saha Shreyas Iyer
Rohit Sharma R Jadeja Umesh Yadav Navdeep Saini
Jasprit Bumrah Bhuvneshwar Kumar Yuzvendra Chahal Shardul Thakur
Cheteshwar Pujara Hardik Pandya Washington Sundar
Ajinkya Rahane Mayank Agarwal Deepak Chahar
KL Rahul Hanuma Vihari
Shikhar Dhawan Manish Pandey
Mohammed Shami Kedar Jadhav
Ishant Sharma
Kuldeep Yadav
Rishabh Pant

India future looking bleak as far Dhoni is concerned

No BCCI contract for Dhoni

With the ICC World T20 to be held in Australia this year, Dhoni hasn’t kept himself available for T20 cricket. Team India has played several T20I series, however, there was so sign of the veteran Jharkand player. And now with him being absent from the contract list, things look obvious that Dhoni’s international cricket journey is set to end very soon.

Therefore, it is highly likely that Dhoni has played his final match for Team India. If he was interested in featuring in the ICC T20 World Cup, then he would have kept himself in fray and played for India of late. He could have also tested himself in domestic cricket. However, he decided not to do that.
Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said it is probably the end of the road for MSD. “It is probably the end of the road for MS Dhoni. I heard the World Cup would be his last event for India – after that he won’t play for India again. He had made up his mind long back and that is why he has not made himself available,” Bhajji told India Today.

Will Dhoni have one last crack if IPL 2020 goes well?

No BCCI contract for Dhoni
Recently, Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri claimed Dhoni could retire from ODIs, however, a decision on the T20 cricket could come only after the IPL 2020 season. Shastri told CNN News18, “At his age, probably the only format he’ll want to play is T20 cricket which means he’ll have to start playing again, get back into the groove because he’s going to play in the IPL and see how his body reacts.”
On asked about the IPL, Shastri claimed ”So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL. One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then…”
Going by Shastri’s comments, a lot hinges on how Dhoni gets going in the IPL. The last two seasons, he was terrific for three-time winners CSK. He batted well and scored freely. However, the upcoming season will be important if he is thinking of being in the reckoning for the World T20.
Meanwhile, Dhoni began practising with the Jharkhand Ranji Trophy squad on Thursday amid fresh speculation on his future. The 38-year-old showed up at his home team’s net practice in Ranchi, indicating that he is preparing himself for the upcoming 13th edition of the IPL.
However, it remains to be seen whether Dhoni will see how IPL pans out so that he can take a final call on his international journey. Going by the turn of events, it is unlikely that Dhoni will ever play again in India colours.

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