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Why Dhoni is not playing Ranji Trophy...

December 04, 2016 19:28 IST

The Jharkhand team has qualified for the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy but till date the India ODI captain has not given any indication that he would like to play.

Mahendra Singh DhoniHaving decided not to play in Ranji Trophy, India's limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go into next month's ODI series against England with no official game time.

India's first ODI of the three-match series against England is scheduled on January 15 in Pune. It is expected to be Dhoni's first international match in two and half months after having last played against New Zealand at Visakhapatnam on October 29. The ODI series will be followed by a three-match T20I series.

Dhoni prepared for the limited overs tour of Australia in 2015 by playing the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Jharkhand.

However, the forthcoming edition of the Hazare Trophy will only commence from February 25 -- nearly four weeks after the England ODI series ends.

While some of the other ODI specialists are playing Ranji Trophy for their states, Dhoni is yet to avail that option.

With the Board of Control for Cricket in India having barred Indian players from competing in the other private leagues, it was not possible for the Indian ODI and T20 captain to play in the Bangladesh Premier League.

The Jharkhand team has qualified for the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy but till date Dhoni has not given any indication that he would like to play as a pure batsman with Ishan Kishan keeping wickets.

"We have no information as to whether Dhoni will be playing any Ranji Trophy game or not. In any case he has already retired from the longer format. The information we have is that he is doing his regular training with the Jharkhand team," chairman of senior selection committee MSK Prasad said on Sunday.

Even Jharkhand State Cricket Association secretary Rajesh Verma made it clear that as far as Ranji Trophy is concerned, Dhoni is a 'mentor' of the senior state team.

"Dhoni does not play Test cricket anymore so the question of playing first-class cricket does not arise at all. He is a mentor of the Jharkhand team. He will play for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy," Verma said.

Dhoni was with the Jharkhand team in Delhi when they played against Maharashtra at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi.

Dhoni, who has a house in South Delhi, visited the team on all four days and sat in the dressing room to cheer the Varun Aaron-led team. He then took part in football sessions with the boys.

Image: India ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Photograph: PTI

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