NEW DELHI: One of the most awaited part of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), which currently stands suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, was the return of MS Dhoni to the cricket field. Dhoni last played in the World Cup 2019 semifinal against New Zealand and since then has been on a sabbatical.
It was believed that Dhoni’s performance in the IPL would decide if he will be a part of India’s World T20 squad. But cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra begs to differ. The former India opener termed it a “misconception” people had.
“It’s a huge misconception that Dhoni’s comeback to the Indian team was dependent on his performance in the IPL,” Chopra said. “If that is how we will view Dhoni as a player and his career and what he has achieved as a player, then I think we are just knocking at the wrong door, because it’s not right.”
Chopra feels that if Dhoni wants to play for the Indian team again and if the team management also wants the same, it will happen.
“See, if the team wants him to play, all that will happen. But if the IPL doesn’t take place this year, the T20 World Cup doesn’t happen this year, (then), of course, he will be a year older; and with him out of the cricket for more than 18 months, you can assume that you might not see him play again for India,” Chopra pointed.
The former India batsman, however, said that looking at the present scenario, organising the T20 World Cup looks “difficult” in October-November, which in turn can open a window for the 13th edition of the IPL.
Chopra also believed that if there is a chance to conduct the IPL “behind closed doors”, it must be taken.
“It’s still a long shot because we don’t know how the world is going to operate. This COVID-19 pandemic is a developing story. For a tournament like the IPL, you have to ensure players’ safety. It’s being contemplated to have the IPL behind closed doors and I think it’s better to have the tournament with empty stands rather than not having the tournament at all.
“To be honest, the T20 World Cup looks very, very difficult because Australia has already put a travel ban till September. The T20 World Cup is slated to be played in October. So October-November might just turn out to be the window to open up suddenly because moving the entire world to one place and then playing the tournament is a lot tougher than playing, say the IPL, in one country where most of the players are Indians and only a handful of players have to fly in.
“From a commentator and a cricket lover’s point of view, I would want the IPL to happen,” he added.