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NEW DELHI: After getting knocked out of the ICC World Cup, India are all set to gear up for their bilateral series which is scheduled to begin on Aug 3.

The team will to travel to West Indies for a full series comprising — two Tests, three ODIs and three Twenty20s. It is reported, that India’s veteran wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to miss the said series which surrounds speculations that the recently turned 38 is set to retire from international cricket.

As per a report in the Times of India, a source close to the BCCI said chief selector MSK Prasad will have ‘make-or-break’ talks with Dhoni and convince him to retire gracefully from international cricket. Dhoni quit Test cricket in 2014 and had been playing only ODIs and T20Is over the last five years. He captained India in 200 ODIs, the last of which came in one match of the 2018 Asia Cup.“We’re surprised that he [Dhoni] has not done it so far. There are youngsters like Rishabh Pant waiting to grab their chances. As we saw in the World Cup, Dhoni isn’t the same batsman anymore. Despite coming in at No. 6 or 7, he was struggling to force the pace, and it was hurting the team,” the source was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

“I don’t think he’s in the selectors’ plan for the 2020 T20 World Cup too. He must quit international cricket gracefully. He isn’t an automatic pick any more,” the source added.

Dhoni is not in the scheme of things for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia was clear when he got dropped from two T20 squads against the West Indies and Australia last year. He was considered for the ODIs more because the World Cup was coming up and now with the mega tournament also out of the way, all are waiting for the man to leave with his head held high.While the image of a crestfallen Dhoni took Indians back by 23 years when Vinod Kambli had a similar heartbreak in yet another semi-final that India had lost, the question about Dhoni’s future has gained prominence after a temporary emotional burst out of the fans.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2019