Former Indian captain MS Dhoni made himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies as he wanted to train with the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army for two months. Now reports suggest that Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has given his approval for the aforementioned request. MS Dhoni, an honorary Lieutenant Colonel, would get to train with the Parachute regiment battalion. Part of the training will also take place in the Kashmir valley but Dhoni would not be part of any operation.
The former Indian captain, who was awarded the honorary rank of a Lieutenant Colonel in 2011, belongs to the Territorial Army's 106 Infantry Battalion. It is one of the two battalions that the Army has for the parachute regiment. He has also trained with the elite Para regiment of the force in Agra back in 2015. He also completed parachute jumps after the course 4 years ago.
Dhoni is on a sabbatical
"The request has now been approved by the Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and the honorary Lt Col would train with the Parachute regiment battalion," top Army sources told ANI.
The Indian wicketkeeper-batsman has taken a sabbatical after the team's World Cup 2019 exit with a semi-final defeat to New Zealand in Manchester. It needs to be mentioned here that apparently, he made this commitment even before the team departed for the Cricket World Cup 2019.
MSK Prasad, who is the chief of the selection committee, confirmed that MS Dhoni was not available for the limited-overs series. He also added that the selection committee will give more opportunities to Rishabh Pant and groom him to take up the mantle across all the three formats.
"He [MS Dhoni] is unavailable for this series. He has expressed his unavailability. Having said that, we had certain road maps till the World Cup. Subsequently, post the World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans. We thought of giving as many opportunities to Rishabh Pant to see he is groomed. That's our plan right now," MSK Prasad told reporters in Mumbai after selecting India's squad.
He also spoke about Dhoni's retirement and said that calling it quits from the game remains a personal choice.
"We did discuss with him [Dhoni's future]. Retirement is purely individual. A legendary cricketer like MS Dhoni... he knows when to retire. But as far as the future roadmap is considered, that is in the hands of the selectors," he further added.