MS Dhoni to return to play for Jharkand for the first time since Test debut
MS Dhoni will turn out for his home state Jharkhand in the Ranji one-dayers and the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the national domestic T20 tournament, when India’s limited-overs domestic tournament starts in December 2015, according to reports in the Mumbai Mirror.
Dhoni last turned out for a domestic team six years ago. It was on October 11, 2009 in NKP Salve Challenger for India Blue vs India Red at Nagpur when he scored 23 off 17 balls. His last match for Jharkhand, however, was in March 2005, in Chandigarh, where he hit a ton (109) against Haryana. His last List A innings for Jharkhand was on January 18, 2005 against Assam – a time he has never looked back upon, quite literally.
What this means is that Dhoni has not played a single match for Jharkhand since his Test debut in December 2005 and turned out just once for his state since his ODI debut in December 2004.
The reason for this has always been pinned to the massive workload that comes with being India’s captain, wicketkeeper and a premier batsman, apart from leading Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, for a whole decade.
A decade and several laurels – two World Cups included – later, the Jharkhand lad who took India to the pinnacle of world cricket, is returning to his roots.
Dhoni’s participation in domestic cricket
What has changed now is that Dhoni has a lot of free time on his hands, with his retirement from the Test format – the time between October 25, when India plays its last ODI of the South Africa series, and January 12 when India plays the first of its five ODIs against Australia in Perth.
He will not take part in the 4-day Ranji Trophy tournament, because he does not want to deny an youngster a place in the side. However, since he is still preparing to lead India at the World T20 in 2016, some practice in the domestic tournament will do him a world of good. His presence will also do wonders for the publicity of the domestic cricket in the country.
According to the schedule Dhoni's first game will be a Vijay Hazare Trophy group match against J&K at Bangalore on December 10.
This will be followed by games against Gujarat, Kerala, Haryana, Karnataka and Railways. In the Mushtaq Ali, he will get a chance to play against Punjab and J&K before the Indian team leaves for Australia.