India’s limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play his first domestic game for Jharkhand in eight long years when they meet Jammu and Kashmir in a group B game of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, on Thursday.
The 34-year-old last played for Jharkhand in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match, way back in 2007. This was after the Indian team under Rahul Dravid had an inglorious exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
However, Dhoni will play under India fast bowler Varun Aaron’s leadership, which will also prepare the team for India’s T20 and ODI captain as the team prepares for a long season ahead.
Dhoni’s last competitive match was fifth ODI international against South Africa in Mumbai. He is playing Vijay Hazare Trophy to gear up for the hard and testing season ahead which includes a limited-overs tour to Australia, T20 series against Sri Lanka, Asia Cup T20 followed by ICC World T20. One can’t also rule out a short series against Pakistan.
It will also be a stern yet learning test for the boys from Jammu and Kashmir as they get a chance to bowl to one of the finest players of limited overs cricket.
Apart from Parveez Rasool, who has played for India and IPL, the young guns from Jammu and Kashmir have not had a chance to fight it out with Indian captain.
The likes of Shubham Khajuria, Hardeep Singh, Bandeep Singh will be able to learn a lot playing against Dhoni.
It will also be interesting if Dhoni takes some time out to interact with the J&K boys just as Sachin Tendulkar did after they defeated Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium.