Indian cricket legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni has arrived in Ladakh for Independence Day celebrations, in his capacity as a honorary Lieutenant Colonel of Indian Army. It had been reported that MSD would be in Leh for flag hoisting ceremony and now pictures have emerged showing the wicketkeeper-batsman, in his army fatigues, arriving in the region.
This visit comes at a crucial time as the Indian government had taken the landmark decision to remove Article 370 that conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir, from the province. This move was preceded by unprecedented levels of security intensification. Thousands of extra troops were sent to the valley to as a precautionary move.
Interestingly, the 2011 World Cup-winning captain also found himself in the state at the same time. After the completion of India's journey in the 2019 World Cup, MSD had applied for two months leave from the Indian cricket team. He decided to spend part of this time in training with Territorial Army's Parachute Regiment, part of 106 TA Battalion.
There have been very few pictures of Dhoni from this phase of his service that have come out. But now, one Twitter user has uploaded some other pictures from Mahi's visit to Ladakh which throw some light on the cricketer's activities currently.
In these four pictures, MSD can be seen at a mess having something to eat, giving an autograph and shaking hands with fellow Army personnel. Since Dhoni was scheduled to spend 15 days with the Army in training, and it started at the beginning of the month, these set of events may be his last in this stint. He had reached Ladakh a day prior to August 15.
When Dhoni returns to his home, he will have to make some tough decisions. His form hasn't been all that good in the last couple of years and he has often faced criticism for not showing enough intent. Though, he did regain his form in the ODI series in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, and also performed magnificently in the Indian Premier League, his efforts in the ICC 2019 World Cup were again rather underwhelming.
Even the selectors have made it clear that Dhoni isn't the man they see playing for India in the next World Cup. The focus seems to have completely shifted on to the young Rishabh Pant. Whether Dhoni is brought back into the team to guide the youngster from Delhi or whether the former 'Captain Cool' is asked to walk away from international cricket, only time will tell.