MS Dhoni, Yuzvendra Chahal skip domestic T20 tournament
What's the story?
Several Indian limited-overs stars, including the likes of MS Dhoni and Yuzvendra Chahal, have pulled out of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Indian team management's decision to reduce the workload on the white ball specialists is also likely to mean that Kedar Jadhav and Shreyas Iyer won't be taking part in the domestic T20 tournament.
Both Jadhav and Iyer who are in India's ODI squad to face South Africa are currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Jadhav is recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka while Iyer too is reportedly nursing a hamstring niggle.
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Indian wicketkeeper MS Dhoni had already informed Jharkhand about his decision to skip the domestic T20 tournament. In his absence, Varun Aaron was named captain of the side. Chahal and Jadhav have already skipped a few rounds of the Ranji Trophy this season.
The heart of the matter
The leg-spinner has not played a single domestic game for Haryana this season and has been training at the NCA when not on national duty. He has now been asked to stay in Bengaluru until January 15, which is when the zonal league stage of the domestic T20 competition ends.
“The idea behind rescheduling this tournament was to have a good competition ahead of the IPL auctions which are scheduled on January 27. Now that these players are secure about their future, they can afford to take it a bit easy. The ODI and T20 teams for South Africa were named over a month in advance. something which needs to be looked into. Fitness is the primary ground of selection these days and if these players are injured, how can they be named without having recovered,” a top BCCI official told TOI.
With the players not taking part in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, all eyes will be on the ODI leg of India's tour of South Africa that begins on February 1.
While nothing can substitute match practice, the decision to rest India's limited-overs stars certainly makes sense considering their workload. The likes of Dhoni and Chahal have played enough matches in the recent past and are unlikely to gain a lot from featuring in the domestic T20 tournament and their absence gives a budding cricketer a chance to shine.