Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni's decision to skip India's domestic tournaments has not gone down too well with Sunil Gavaskar. The former India captain has questioned the selectors for allowing this practice even as India gears up for a hectic next six months, culminating with the World Cup in May-June 2019.
"We shouldn't ask Dhawan and Dhoni 'Why you are not playing domestic cricket?'. We should, in fact, ask the BCCI and selectors why are they allowing players to skip domestic cricket when they are not on national duty," Gavaskar told India Today. "If the Indian team has to do well, players have to be in prime form and for that they have to play cricket."
Dhawan isn't part of the Test squad in Australia, and is currently in Melbourne, where he lives during the off-season. He hasn't been part of the long-format plans since the tour of England in September and was replaced by Prithvi Shaw for the two home Tests in West Indies.
Dhoni who hasn't played long-form cricket since his Test retirement in 2014, is in the middle of an enforced break in international cricket following the ODI series against West Indies last month. Dhoni was dropped from India's T20I squad for the series against West Indies and Australia, the first time he's been dropped since his international debut in 2004.
In all likelihood, his next assignment could be the three ODIs in Australia in January, which effectively means he wouldn't have played any cricket over a two-month window.
"He (Dhoni) didn't play the T20Is against Australia, before that he didn't play the West Indies Tests, and then he is not playing the Test series against Australia," Gavaskar said. "So, he last played in October and will next play in January, which is a huge gap. But if he doesn't do well on tours of Australia and New Zealand, then there will be more questions asked on his place in the World Cup."
"As you grow older and if there is a gap in your [competitive] cricket, your reflexes will slow down. If you play any form of cricket at the domestic level, you get an opportunity to play long innings, which serves as a good practice for you."