MS Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's retirement plans have come to a flashpoint after the World Cup. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The speculation over Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement from all forms of international cricket has gotten more intense with the news that he wants to retire only after the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next year.

Though he hasn’t made an official statement with regards to his plans to continue, he has been testing the waters by expressing his desire to continue playing with some officials.

The teams for next month’s tour of West Indies will be announced on Friday and Dhoni is yet to inform the selection committee of his availability. A BCCI official told PTI: “We have not heard from Dhoni but what is relevant is the communication between the player and selectors. If you ask me, Dhoni did well in the World Cup but he is his own man. Only he can decide whether he wants to carry on or not.”

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The buzz as the World Cup was coming to an end was whether Dhoni will retire after India’s last match of the campaign. The entire Indian media contingent, along with Gulf News, was prepared for his announcement, which was anticipated after India’s defeat to New Zealand at Old Trafford.

Rumours started in the press box that Dhoni could be calling a press conference soon to announce his retirement. When Dhoni had announced his retirement from Test cricket it was abrupt and caught everyone unaware, while he did the same while relinquishing his captaincy. So journalists even assumed that Dhoni’s retirement may be announced at 10.30pm (UK time) which would ensure that Indian newspapers may not be able to get the news the same day.

The argument behind Dhoni to continue is that he has been one of the most successful captains and players in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 event for the Chennai Super Kings, and the management of the franchise have already announced that Dhoni will be playing in the next edition.

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The problem the Indian selectors will be facing is that if Dhoni doesn’t resign, he will still be considered an automatic selection in the Indian team. The selectors and Indian team management are now being blamed for not having a plan regarding Dhoni’s future. Many feel that they should have convinced the former captain to retire after the World Cup like the selectors had done with Sachin Tendulkar. Even a cricketer of Tendulkar’s stature had come in for heavy criticism for not timing his retirement plans well — like Dhoni is facing now.

Had Dhoni carried India over the finish line in the semi-final, it could have been a different story. A media report in one of India’s leading English dailies suggested that Dhoni could be serving as a ‘mentor’ of the first choice wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, but not be a part of the playing XI.

Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited applications for Team’s India’s support staff including the main coach’s post. A new coach may be in charge of the team for the September series against South Africa in India. There is speculation that Trevor Bayliss, the World Cup winning coach of England, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur and Sri Lankan great Mahela Jaywardene are among the likely candidates.