MS Dhoni became a qualified paratrooper in 2015 after having completed five parachute training jumps from Indian Army aircrafts in the Agra training camp. (Image credit: Twitter)
MS Dhoni, the Honorary Lieutenant General of the Indian Army, will begin his two-month training with the Territorial Army Unit of the Parachute Regiment and he will be taking the duties of patrolling, guard and post duty in Kashmir. First visuals have emerged of Dhoni going to Kashmir. In the photos, he is seen on a civilian flight and giving him company is Arun Pandey, the owner of Rhiti Sports. Since Dhoni is a territorial Army soldier, he need not necessarily travel on military planes unless they are moving as a company or a unit to another location. Dhoni was conferred with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army in 2011 and he became a qualified paratrooper in 2015 after having completed five parachute training jumps from Indian Army aircraft in the Agra training camp.
Dhoni's request to train with the Indian Army was approved by General Bipin Rawat. In an interview to NDTV, General Rawat said, "When a citizen of India wants to don the military uniform then he has to also be prepared to fulfil the task for which the uniform has been assigned to him. MS Dhoni has carried out his basic training and we know that he will be able to accomplish the task. In fact, he will be protecting a lot of other people because he will now be performing with the 106 Territorial Army battalion (Para). It is a very good battalion and they have been performing a line of communication duties, static protection and he will be a part of it."
BCCI Chief Selector MSK Prasad had announced Indian squad for West Indies tour and Dhoni's name was missing for the whole tour. Speaking about Dhoni’s absence from the squad, Prasad said that the wicket-keeper batsman was unavailable for the selection.
However, the chief selector also dropped a major hint for Dhoni amid the intense speculations about his retirement. Prasad said that the team management has a plan for the 2020 World T20 and more opportunities will be given to Rishabh Pant, also a wicket-keeper batsman.
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“He's unavailable for this series but we had certain roadmaps and plans till WC. Subsequently, we've laid down a few more plans and thought of giving as many opportunities to Pant and to see he is groomed. This is our plan right now,” Prasad told reporters during a press conference.
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Following India’s unsuccessful World Cup campaign, there was intense speculation of Dhoni's impending retirement but Arun Pandey, the former skipper's close friend has finally cleared the air on retirement. According to a report by PTI, Pandey said that Dhoni has no immediate plans to hang his boot and termed the speculations as “unfortunate”.
“He has no immediate plans to retire. The constant speculation over the future of a great player like him is unfortunate,” Pandey said.