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Devbrat Patnaik

Mumbai: Soon after BCCI announced the Annual Player Contracts for Senior Men's team for the period between October 2019 and September 2020, all eyes went hunting for one name - Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Grade A list where the former Indian skipper featured for some years now comprised players like Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant.

When even Grade B & Grade C list did not have any mention of MS Dhoni, speculations were abuzz that the Captain Cool has decided to hang his boots.

Dhoni has not played a single match since the day India lost to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semi-final on July 9. While Dhoni himself has not divulged any future plans on retirement, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had recently stated that Dhoni could be included in the upcoming T20 World Cup squad provided he does well in this Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Coming back to the BCCI central contract, a source close to the Board mentioned that Dhoni was informed about his exclusion before the decision was announced today.

"MS Dhoni was informed that he won't be given BCCI's central contact, before the decision was announced today. A player needs to play a minimum of three T20 matches in a particular season to be eligible for BCCI central contract," reported ANI quoting sources.

Well, only time will tell whether the master of the helicopter shot would don the blue national jersey.

Three key players Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah have been retained in the Grade A+. Test team keeper Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal have been named in Grade B, while Kedar Jadhav, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar are listed in Grade C category.

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