MS Dhoni set to skip Irani Trophy

MS Dhoni (above) defended India’s decision to not release Cheteshwar Pujara for the Ranji Trophy final © AFP

Dharamsala: Jan 27, 2013

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not be leading Rest of India in the February 6-10 Irani Cup match where they will be pitted against either Mumbai or Saurashtra.

Asked if he will be available for the Irani Cup game, he smiled and said, “As of now, No. But you never know.”

Dhoni was speaking at the post-match press conference after India lost to England by seven wickets in the fifth and final one-dayer here on Sunday.

Irani Cup will be the last chance for top India players to get some good practice before the first Test against Australia from February 22.

But, the skipper has decided to take some much needed rest after a gruelling Test and ODI series against England with a five-match limited overs series against Pakistan sandwiched in between.

When someone asked about the Australia series, he quickly replied, “We have a break and we would like to make the most of it.”

Asked why Cheteshwar Pujara was not released for the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai, Dhoni was curt in his response.

“Sir, India comes first. If we had to release Pujara, we had to do that a couple of days before the final ODI and they had to travel all the way to Mumbai from Dharamsala. Also releasing Pujara would mean that we had to also release Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane).”