Amid rumours going around about the future of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has dropped his name from the list of central contracts. This has now fueled now retirement speculations once again, though Dhoni hasn’t announced his retirement yet.

Dhoni didn’t play any match for the Indian team post the Cricket World Cup last year. The MSK Prasad led selectors committee made it clear post the World Cup that they are looking towards the future. Even if the team management was not supportive of new wicket-keeper Rishab Pant, selectors constantly backed him.

Also, they selected Sanju Samson as the back-up of Rishab Pant as their second choice wicket-keeper. With KL Rahul really owning that spot in the team at present, things are looking really good for the team now.

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However, Dhoni fulfilled his Army Duty for a small duration after the World Cup 2019 and is staying in his home city of Ranchi. He kept calm and didn’t announce anything about his future. He returns in the limited-over formats were exponentially decreasing in the recent four-five years. This led to stalwarts of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, VVS Laxman, Saurav Ganguly (now BCCI President) questioning his tactics and approach in the game. Many stalwarts received big backlash from Dhoni fans for their comments in the interest of team but which are against Dhoni. All legends maintained their silence on this topic from then.

Handling big players and their retirement in India has been a constant issue for many years. There was a lot of noise generated when Saurav Ganguly retired in 2008. So was the case when VVS Laxman retired in 2012. Also, the retirement of Ashish Nehra didn’t go as per plan. Dhoni is one of the biggest names in India cricket at present. That is why the BCCI is taking a slow step towards the sidelines and has taken him away from the International scene.

It is quite clear that Dhoni still wants to play cricket for India. If not, he would have announced his retirement from International cricket at least. However, the diminishing returns from him in his performances was causing problems for the Indian team. If we look at the loss in 2019 World Cup semi-final, Ravindra Jadeja played the innings of his life but Dhoni left many deliveries which put his non-striker Jadeja under pressure.

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As the required run-rate was going sky-high, Jadeja needed to play high-risk shots to take India to the target and in that attempt, he got out. This lead to a loss in the semi-final and the exit of the Indian team from the 2019 World Cup.

There are four grades in the Central Contract of BCCI. A+, A, B, C are these grades. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in grade A where he gets Rs. 5 crores per year. As BCCI didn’t include him central contract list of October 2019 to Septemeber 2020, it is hinted that we could be at the end of the era of Dhoni.

The enthralling journey from 2004 to 2020 of Dhoni will be always a golden era of the Indian team. In his captaincy, India won three ICC trophies. Immensely loved all over in the cricket fraternity and among cricket fans, Dhoni will be always a golden chapter in the book of Indian cricket history. Maybe we would see him donning the yellow jersey for the last time in IPL this year.