With Board of Control for Cricket in India reportedly planning to organise a six-week camp for its cricketers in July amid the coronavirus pandemic, there is speculation whether former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will feature in it.
As per reports, BCCI is waiting for a safe time and venue for the camp after the third week of July. In case it’s not possible, it is learnt that players could join their respective Indian Premier League camps whenever it takes place.
However, questions are arising about Dhoni because he has been dropped from the central contracts list. The former captain has not played for India since their 2019 World Cup semi-final exit against New Zealand in July last year.
Former India cricketers MSK Prasad, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh and Deep Dasgupta were divided when questioned about Dhoni’s participation if the national camp goes ahead, as per PTI.
Former chairman of selectors Prasad said that if there is a T20 World Cup happening, then Dhoni can be possibly called, but if its a case of playing bilateral series, then the selection committee might think differently.
“I don’t know whether T20 World Cup is happening or not. If it is happening and you are just looking at the camp as a pre-cursor to the tournament, then MS should definitely be there. If it’s a case of bilaterals, then you already have KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson,” Prasad said.
Prasad also felt that Dhoni’s presence in the camp could be great for the younger keepers in a residential camp.
Meanwhile, Dhoni’s World Cup-winning former teammate Ashish Nehra said that if the wicketkeeper-batsman wants to play, he should be in every team.
“If I was a national selector, MS Dhoni will be in my team but the bigger question is that whether he wants to play or not. It’s what Dhoni wants at the end of the day,” Nehra said.
The former pacer felt that playing IPL would be good enough match tuning if the Chennai Super Kings captain wants to come back into the Indian team post the T20 tournament.
Harbhajan, on his part, wants to see some of the youngsters being called-up as and when the camp possibly happens.
“I would like to see Suryakumar Yadav, the young U-19 leg-spinner [Ravi Bishnoi] and Yashasvi Jaiswal in that camp. They should get a chance to interact with the senior players. No one deserves it more than Surya, who should be in that T20 team,” Harbhajan said.
Former India wicketkeeper Dasgupta said that selectors should have a word with Dhoni if he wants to be a part of the camp.
He said: “I mean if Dhoni is a part of that camp, it will be six weeks with the next batch of keepers who can pick his brains. Yes, if he is not a part of that camp, I would still not rule him out if he has a good IPL. Say he bats at No 4 for CSK and gets 500 runs, can you ignore him then?”
With PTI inputs