Former India captain MS Dhoni has taken a two-month break to train with the Indian Army, thereby making himself unavailable for the upcoming tour of the West Indies. While ace cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle has taken an indirect dig at Dhoni’s sabbatical saying the ageing cricketer’s priorities have changed, former cricketers Kapil Dev and Gautam Gambhir have praised the ace wicket-keeper saying his action will inspire the youth to serve the country.
Dhoni was expected to take retirement from international cricket once India crashed out of the recent cricket World Cup. But he kept everybody waiting and fuelled the speculation whether he would make it to the West Indies-bound squad. Opinions are divided over whether the 38-year-old should be made to fade out or he is allowed to take his own call. There were even words that Dhoni would be used to see off the transition phase by handing over the baton to young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.
Dhoni temporarily put the issue on the backburner by opting for the army training. Dhoni joined the army’s Parachute Regiment on Wednesday and will undertake patrolling duties in Kashmir between July 31 and August 15. The army said in a statement on Thursday: “Lieutenant Colonel (Honorary) MS Dhoni is proceeding to 106 TA Battalion (Para) for being with the Battalion from 31 Jul-15 Aug 19.”
Dhoni’s move will motivate the youth to join the army, says Gambhir
“Dhoni’s move is amazing. I have said many times before that Dhoni should wear the army uniform. Now, the wicketkeeper-batsman has decided to spend time in the Indian Army camps, it shows how devoted and serious he is to the army. When he does something for the army, he will be an inspiration for many young people of the country and they will be motivated to join the army,” Gambhir, who retired from cricket last December and now is a BJP Member of Parliament, said while speaking at a panel discussion on a news channel on Friday.
India’s first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev seconded Gambhir’s thought. The 1983 tournament champion team’s captain said: “What Dhoni has done, it is a big decision. This will motivate the youth of the country. I think the youth of the country should spend some time with the army, which can help the country and young people learn new things as well.”
Dhoni, who has scored over 10,000 runs in ODIs, holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army unit of the Parachute Regiment.
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