For some reason, raising questions about Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decisions in India is considered even more sacrilegious than questioning Sachin Tendulkar. So, while the Master Blaster was bombarded with criticism when he decided to not partake in an ODI series against Sri Lanka in 2012, MSD has been away from India duty without a single finger pointed at him.
Now, the former India captain is all set to make a comeback to cricket with the Indian Premier League (IPL) that begins next month. So, let's ask the question not too many would be willing to put to the legendary cricketer. If he can make himself available for IPL, why not also take part in Indian team's international fixtures?
If the answer is that he is not sure about his future, then shouldn't he call it a day and let the Indian team move on and search for a new wicketkeeper-batsman for both the limited-overs format. Why keep the selectors and the team management on tenterhooks?
Now, it is quite possible that Mahi is in touch with both Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly, and has communicated his plans to them. If that is the situation, then, shouldn't we be aware of that? Some people will make the case that IPL is the perfect place for Dhoni to test himself and know whether he still has cricket left in him.
Surely, this could have been done before the IPL as well. India have played so many ODI and T20I series since the World Cup that there were enough chances for the 2011 World Cup-winning captain to see whether his abilities have waned or are still better than other contenders for the wicketkeeper-batsman's position.
One possible reason for Dhoni's absence and the corresponding silence could be that he, and the Indian team, were not sure whether Rishabh Pant, or anybody else, would be ready to take over the responsibility of being the keeper-batsman in the World T20 later this year. Dhoni might have withheld his retirement to be ready to don the gloves if no other good option is available.
If this is the case, then, one can't fault the legend. He is thinking about his team and not about himself. But here the hypocrisy of Indian media and fans becomes clear. Sachin would have been pilloried if he had been absent from the Indian team for such a long time and hadn't said a word. If he had then played the IPL, all hell would have broken loose.
One thing that doesn't seem to be in doubt is that Indian cricketers always seem to be ready to play in the IPL while missing other tournaments. This raises questions in the minds of fans and ex-players. Yes, IPL is important, especially since cricketers have limited shelf lives. But still, international cricketers are not cash-strapped and should not ignore their national teams.