India in Sri Lanka 2008 July 8, 2008

Dhoni pulls out of Sri Lanka Tests

Cricinfo staff


A battle-weary Mahendra Singh Dhoni had opted out of the Sri Lanka Tests © AFP
 

The speculation about Mahendra Singh Dhoni's availability for the Test series in Sri Lanka has been laid to rest with the BCCI making it official that he has requested for a break. Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI's chief administrative officer, said Dhoni, India's limited-overs' captain, had personally conveyed the message. "Yes, he (Dhoni) has told the board that he would like to rest for the Test series against Sri Lanka", Shetty said.

Till late on Monday night there was a question mark over Dhoni's participation in the tour after his own public statements did not clear the air. Mid-way through the recent Asia Cup in Pakistan recently, Dhoni spoke about fatigue as a result of back-to-back-matches. On Monday, he welcomed the BCCI's policy for allowing players the choice to sit out if they wanted some rest. "The board has done a good thing by saying that if someone needs rest, he can opt out", Dhoni said.

Gary Kirsten, India's coach, had also expressed concern about packed schedules and how important it was for key players like Dhoni to take a break. Since 2007, Dhoni has played 14 Tests, 56 ODIs and eight Twenty20 internationals - 134 days of international cricket in a span of less than 20 months. He also captained Chennai Super Kings to the final of the Indian Premier League, and featured in all their 16 matches.

In Dhoni's absence, Dinesh Karthik is likely to take over wicketkeeping duties ahead of Parthiv Patel. Karthik last played in the Bangalore Test against Pakistan last December, which Dhoni had to skip due to an ankle injury. Karthik had played as a specialist opener in Test series in Bangladesh and England last year, and in the home Tests against Pakistan. He was picked in the squad for the Australia tour, but didn't play any of the Tests.