The debate over MS Dhoni’s international future continues with Sunil Gavaskar questioning his long-term self-imposed break from playing competitive cricket. Dhoni last played a competitive game in July 2019 – India’s semi-final exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup in England – and has since been on a sabbatical.

The T20 World Cup is just a few months away and there’s no clarity on when Dhoni will return. However, India head coach Ravi Shastri has maintained that if the former captain is in good form in IPL, he will definitely be a contender.

On being asked should Dhoni make the cut for the T20 World Cup, Gavaskar replied, “Fitness is something that I can’t tell you anything at all. The question that needs to be asked is of MSD himself. He has not made himself available to play for India since 9th of July (2019).

He added, “That is the important question. Does anybody keep himself away from playing for India for that long? That is the question and therein lies the answer.”

Gavaskar also backed increase in match fees for Ranji Trophy saying the first-class competition will continue ‘poor cousin of Indian cricket’ if the pay disparity continues.

“IPL dominates Ranji Trophy. Unless their match fees are increased substantially, it will be considered an orphan and poor cousin of Indian cricket,” Gavaskar said. “I think 26 percent of the BCCI revenue goes to the the players, out of which 13 percent goes to the international players, 10 percent goes to domestic cricket, 1.5 to junior, 1.5 to women’s cricket. That has not really been increased over the past few years barring the Test cricketers.”

He hoped BCCI president Sourav Ganguly will bridge the gap between the earnings of an IPL and a Ranji cricketer.

“I am hoping new president Sourav Ganguly will look into this. The disparity that you see between IPL players, who don’t always play first class cricket, and those who play all the domestic games, about 80 days and somebody who plays 14 days of IPL. There is big disparity. I am talking about the uncapped players. Hopefully that will be narrowed down as much as possible,” he said.

On the ICC’s plan to trim Test cricket to four-day affair, Gavaskar said, “What I think doesn’t matter. It is what the current players think that matters. They should be consulted before BCCI takes a call.”