Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has questioned the BCCI for allowing the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to skip domestic cricket ahead of a hectic six months culminating into the World Cup in England.
Dhawan, who was dropped from the Test team, is spending time with family in Melbourne following the T20 leg of the Australia while Dhoni has had no cricket since the ODI series against the West Indies ended on November 1.
The former captain is a certainty only in the 50-over format after he was ignored for the T20s against the West Indies and Australia. He retired from Tests in 2014.
“We shouldn’t ask Dhawan and Dhoni ‘Why you are not playing domestic cricket?’. We should, in fact, ask the BCCI and selectors why are they allowing players to skip domestic cricket when they are not on national duty,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“If the Indian team has to do well, players have to be in prime form and for that they have to play cricket,” he added.
Gavaskar wants the two players to compete in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, especially Dhoni, who is facing constant criticism for his waning batting form.
“He (Dhoni) didn’t play the T20Is against Australia, before that he didn’t play the West Indies Tests [retired], and then he is not playing the Test series against Australia.
“So, he last played in October (November 1) and will next play in January, which is a huge gap. But if he doesn’t do well on tours of Australia and New Zealand, then there will be more questions asked on his place in the World Cup.
“As you grow older and if there is a gap in your cricket, your reflexes will slow down. If you play any form of cricket at the domestic level, you get an opportunity to play long innings, which serves as a good practice for you,” Gavaskar added.
Dhoni has in the past stated that he would not like to disturb the make up of his state team, Jharkhand, to help him stay match-fit. That was reportedly the reason he didn’t play the domestic one-dayers this season. Dhawan, on the other hand, is currently on a break for his off-season, having played regularly in other white ball formats.
Gavaskar’s question would also bring in the much-debated issue of international cricketers not giving importance to domestic cricket.
The World Cup starts May 30.