MS Dhoni named Jharkhand captain for 2017 Vijay Hazare Trophy
What’s the story?
Indian wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni has been named Jharkhand‘s captain for the upcoming edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The 35-year old will lead a strong 18-member squad for the prestigious 50-overs tournament.
It is pertinent to note that the veteran had been sacked as Rising Pune Supergiants’ (RPS) skipper just a couple of days back. Earlier this year, Dhoni had stepped down from India’s ODI and T20I captaincy in order to concentrate solely on his game during the final phase of his career.
After replacing Dhoni with Australian skipper Steven Smith, RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka had stated, “I have the highest regard for Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni will continue to be an important part of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchise's best interests in mind.”
However, the move earned the wrath of former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin who accused the franchise of not considering Dhoni’s stature and ‘belitting’ his legacy for corporate reasons.
The heart of the matter
Dhoni will lead a Jharkhand side featuring discarded Indian pacer Varun Aaron along with the likes of Ishan Kishan, Saurabh Tiwary, Ishant Jaggi and Shahbaz Nadeem. Interestingly, the gloveman played last year’s edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy under Kumar Deobrat’s captaincy. He has also worked with Jharkhand as mentor during the TNCA-run Buchi Babu All-India Invitational Cricket Tournament as well as the Ranji Trophy last year.
Jharkhand’s Squad for Vijay Hazare Trophy: MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Ishan Kishan, Virat Singh, Ishank Jaggi, Saurabh Tiwary, Kaushal Singh, Pratyush Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sonu Kumar Singh, Varun Aaron, Rahul Shukla, Anukul Roy, Monu Kumar Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Anand Singh, Shahsheem Rathore, Vikash Singh and Kumar Deobrat
Dhoni's team has been slotted in Group D along with Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Saurashtra and Services. They will begin their campaign against Karnataka in Kolkata on the 25th of February. Jharkhand had won the 2011 Vijay Hazare Trophy by defeating Gujarat in the final by 159 runs.
This year's Vijay Hazare Trophy will see Harbhajan Singh leading Punjab, Manish Pandey marshalling Karnataka and the 19-year old Rishabh Pant captaining Delhi. Even though Jharkhand could have given captaincy exposure to a youngster by handling the mantle to former U-19 skipper Ishan Kishan, Dhoni's extensive experience as skipper should bolster the team's chances in the tournament.