New Delhi: India's limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will most likely head into the his first ODI match after New Zealand series without an official game in the long two-and-a-half months long duration.
India are set to play their first ODI against England on January 15 in Pune. Having played his last one-day against New Zealand at Visakhapatnam on October 29, Dhoni hasn't participated in any official cricket match.
The official BCCI protocol states that for injured players, at least one first-class game before being considered for national selection is compulsory. This clearly does not apply to Mahi, who no longer plays in the longer format of the game.
To prepare for the limited overs tour of Australia in 2015, Dhoni participated in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Jharkhand.
With this edition of Hazare Trophy to commence from February 25 - nearly four weeks after the England ODI series has ended – Dhoni will be devoid of any sort of domestic match practice.
A few other ODI specialists are busy in the ongoing Ranji Trophy matches, but MS is yet to avail that option.
With BCCI debarring Indian players from playing in the other private leagues, the Indian captain could not participate in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) too.
"We have no information as to whether Dhoni will be playing any Ranji Trophy game or not. In any case he has already retired from the longer format. The information we have is that he is doing his regular training with the Jharkhand team," chairman of senior selection committee MSK Prasad told PTI on Sunday.
Jharkhand team has qualified for the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy and its State Cricket Association Secretary Rajesh Verma made it clear Dhoni is a 'mentor' of the senior state team and he has not expressed any intention to play for the team
"Dhoni does not play Test cricket anymore so the question of playing first-class cricket does not arise at all. He is a mentor of the Jharkhand team. He will play for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy," Verma said.
Dhoni is reportedly taking private fitness sessions to prepare himself for the England ODI series.