Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was tight-lipped about his future when asked on Wednesday about making a comeback to the Indian limited-overs setup.
There has been widespread speculation that the 38-year-old may announce his retirement over the past few months. Dhoni has not played a single competitive match since India’s semi-final exit at Manchester against New Zealand.
“January tak mat poocho [don’t ask me anything until January],” said Dhoni at an event in Mumbai.
Dhoni will miss the limited-overs home assignment against the West Indies starting December 6 and comprising of three T20 Internationals and as many number of one-dayers.
India head coach Ravi Shastri has not ruled out Dhoni from featuring in the squad for the 2020 T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in November. Board of Control for Cricket in India chairman MSK Prasad insisted that the panel has “moved on”. He also stated that Dhoni is aware of their intent to blood youngsters such as Rishabh Pant.
Dhoni was seen training with Jharkhand’s under-23 team in Ranchi a few days ago, triggering a fresh round of speculation on a possible comeback. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had ruled out an immediate retirement recently.
2007, 2011: unforgettable moments
When asked to choose moments close to his heart, Dhoni picked the rousing reception his team received in Mumbai after its triumph in the 2007 World T20 and the final moments of 2011 World Cup final.
Under Dhoni’s leadership, India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa before winning the 2011 ODI World Cup as hosts at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
“There are two incidents I would like to mention over here. So after the 2007 (T20) World Cup, we came back to India and had an open bus ride and we were standing at the Marine Drive (in Mumbai). It was jam-packed all around and people had come out of their cars,” said Dhoni.
“So, I felt good after seeing the smile on everyone’s face. Because, there could have been so many people in the crowd, who might have missed their flights, perhaps they were going for important work. The kind of reception, we got, the entire Marine Drive was full from one end to other.”
The other moment which he listed was the chants of “Vande Mataram” by the fans when India was close to victory in the 2011 World Cup final here. Dhoni had remained unbeaten on 91 in the all-important game.
“And the second instance I would say the 2011 World Cup final, in that match when 15-20 runs were required, the way all the spectators started chanting Vande Mataram’ at the Wankhede Stadium.
“These are two moments, I think, it will be very difficult to replicate them. Those are the two moments that are very close to my heart,” added Dhoni.
(With PTI inputs)