Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is the unofficial mentor to the Jharkhand cricket team, is set to watch his state side take on Gujarat in their first-ever Ranji Trophy semifinal in Nagpur on Sunday.
Dhoni doesn’t play the longer version of the game ever since retiring from Tests but often practices with the Jharkhand players during the domestic First-Class season.
“He should be there in Nagpur in all probability. He wants to be there. Interactions with him has always been helpful for the boys,” a source close to the team management told PTI.
- Jharkhand have reached the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy for the first time
- Jharkhand will take on Gujarat while Mumbai will take on Tamil Nadu in the other semi-final
- India will take on England in three ODIs starting from January 15
But with the Indian team for the home ODI and T20 series against England expected to be picked in the first week of January, Dhoni might not be in Nagpur for the entire duration of the game.
The India limited-overs captain has taken out time for his state team when he is not on national duty. It is rare for the national team captain to train with his domestic team but Dhoni has done so frequently.
He dropped in at the nets ahead of Jharkhand’s Ranji Trophy opener against Maharashtra at the Karnail Singh Stadium in October. The 35-year-old was also part of the pre-season camp held at the international cricket stadium in Ranchi. He spent time with the team in Chennai too in August on the sidelines of Buchi Babu Invitational Tournament.
Besides providing a morale boost to the players, Dhoni will get crucial net sessions under his belt ahead of international assignments. It has been all the more helpful this season with India having a Test-heavy season at home.
With the Vijay Hazare Trophy only starting on February 25, Dhoni won’t get a competitive game before the England series starting on January 15.