There was certain happiness among cricket fans in general when the schedule for the 13th season of the Indian Premier League was announced earlier this year for the opening day - March 29 - would also mark the return of veteran Indian cricketer MS Dhoni to the sports after a break of eight months.
Had all gone according to plans, Dhoni and his Chennai Super Kings would have now been up in action against defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. But fate has put his return on hold leaving fans in uncertainty over his future, once again.
With the increase in concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus case across the nation, BCCI had suspended IPL 2020 until April 15, a decision that was taken two weeks back. But on March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a nation-wide 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the virus leaving IPL 2020 in doubt.
Dhoni had already begun his practice session for the IPL season and had reached Chennai at the beginning of this month. He had even scored a 45-ball 100 during a practice game. Hundreds had gathered at the Chepauk Stadium each day to witness their Thala gearing up for the IPL season which is also to decide his fate in India's World T20 squad. But following the suspension of the 13th season of IPL, the franchise put off their practice sessions and Dhoni returned home in Ranchi.
Dhoni has been out of cricketing action since India's World Cup 2019 semifinal loss against New Zealand last July. Despite India playing several limited-overs fixtures and with the team preparing for the World T20 this year in Australia, Dhoni has still been on a prolonged sabbatical. In his absence, KL Rahul has become India's primary choice wicketkeeper while Rishabh Pant has become his backup.
Earlier, Indian coach Ravi Shastri said that the 13th season of the Indian Premier League will decide the fate of Dhoni. But with uncertainty looming over the league, the speculation surrounding Dhoni's retirement has begun once again.