India's limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is all set to feature in domestic cricket after a gap of eight years as he is likely to play for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy next month in case the Pakistan series does not happen.
Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) secretary Rajesh Verma said that the star cricketer has expressed his desire to play for the state team.
"We have spoken to Dhoni and he has said that in all likelihood he will be available (if there's no Pakistan series) to play for Jharkhand in Vijay Hazare Trophy. We have not discussed as to how many matches he will play or whether he would like to lead the side. But if he wants obviously, he will lead the side," Verma said.
Dhoni last played for Jharkhand in the 2007 East Zone leg of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Championship in Kolkata after the Indian team made an inglorious exit from the group stage of the 2007 World Cup.
"His presence obviously will be a great boost for the boys. Whenever Dhoni has got an opportunity, he has had encouraging words for the boys. Only day before I saw him training at the main stadium alone. Right now the senior team is in Tripura for Ranji Trophy," Verma said.
What seems to have brought about this opportunity for Jharkhand is the fact that Dhoni no longer plays Test cricket. The last international he played was an ODI against South Africa on October 25.
With no clarity on the series against Pakistan, India's next assignment is the limited overs series in Australia in mid-January.
If Pakistan series does not happen, Dhoni would have been out of match practice for close to three months. The 50-over matches against first-class sides will at least allow him to get some match time before he goes Down Under.