T20 WC pushed to 2021, is it the end of Dhoni Era in International Cricket?

The chances of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 were hanging in balance as COVID-19 continues to impact the nation in a big way but BCCI took a call to conduct the big event in UAE, the official announcement of the dates are yet to reveal. There have been a lot of speculations around the staging of the 13th edition of the league, and while cricket enthusiasts are longing for it, there is one man who was most keenly looking forward to it. And it is none other than the talismanic Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose future hangs by a thin thread, i.e. the IPL.

ICC made the big announcement on T20 World Cup as they postponed the event and it will happen next year between October and November which created a question mark on some top cricketers such as Dhoni, ABD, Gayle, Malik and Malinga who were supposed to feature for their nation in World Cup 2020. The next ICC event is more than 12 months away and the possibility of these players to participate in the next WC is very low. It would raise huge question marks on India’s captain cool MS Dhoni as well, who is eyeing a comeback to the Indian side.

The former captain last appeared for Team India in July 2019 when India played New Zealand in the World Cup semifinal at Manchester, and it didn’t pan out as expected as a teary-eyed Dhoni failed to carry India’s hopes across the finish line. Many had predicted that this might be Dhoni’s last game in India blue having already retired from test cricket.  It’s been a year and the speculations around Dhoni’s future have been rife. Dhoni was dropped from the T20 and ODI squads, and his only hope to stage a comeback for the T20 World Cup, and further was IPL, as was also indirectly stated by the Chief Selector.

After spending years as a list-A contracted player of BCCI, Dhoni saw his name being dropped from the latest annual contract list of BCCI, and many believed this was the telling blow, fueling the fire of Dhoni’s career-end discussions.

In March 2020, Dhoni came back on the field after a big break and was seen batting in the nets at Chepauk Stadium, getting ready for IPL 2020. His CSK teammates Harbhajan Singh and Raina took to social media to show their admiration for their captain, revealing how Dhoni was still picking balls on the right slots and hitting out of the park. The fans were also eagerly waiting for his comeback in IPL 2020. 

Indian selectors have been looking for a finisher in limited-overs cricket and the search has been on ever since Dhoni was ousted from the team, but there still seems to be a gaping hole there. The form of Rishabh Pant, and others, has still kept the doors open for Dhoni’s return, though KL Rahul seems to be doing well as a versatile player in the side.

MS Dhoni led India to three major ICC events – the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa, 2011 ODI World Cup at home and 2013 Champions Trophy in England. In his glittering career, he has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs, and 98 T20Is, accumulating 17266 runs and 829 dismissals behind the wicket.

World Cup is not happening this year so we might have to accept one fact that in all likelihood, MS Dhoni has played his last international match for India. With Dhoni not getting any younger, IPL seemed to be the last hope for Dhoni to stage a comeback but with the postponing the mega ICC event to next year, hope to see him in blue colour is died now. The CSK franchise has also stated that IPL 2021 might be the last for MS Dhoni. All permutations and combinations are signifying a similar story, one final chance for Dhoni’s comeback!