Former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Gautam Gambhir have praised M.S. Dhoni's decision of spending two months with the Indian Army, saying this move by the 38-year-old will inspire youth to serve the country.
Dhoni has begun his two-month training with the Indian Army's Parachute Regiment. On Wednesday, he joined the battalion, which has its headquarters in Bengaluru.
"Dhoni's move is amazing. I have said many times before that Dhoni should wear the Army uniform only when he does something for the army and now Dhoni has decided to spend time with the Army, it shows that how devoted and serious he is to the Army. This step of Dhoni will work as inspiration for many young people of the country and they will be motivated to join the Army," Gambhir, now a BJP MP, said while speaking at a panel discussion organized by a news channel on Friday.
Supporting Gambhir's views, 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil said: "What Dhoni has done, it is a big decision. This will motivate the youth of the country." I think the youth of the country should spend some time with the army, which can help the country and young people learn new things as well."
Dhoni will carry out patrolling, guard and post duties while he serves with his battalion in Kashmir.
In a statement, the Indian Army Thursday said: "Lieutenant Colonel (Honorary) MS Dhoni is proceeding to 106 TA Battalion (Para) for being with the Battalion from 31 Jul-15 Aug 19."
The statement said that the unit will be posted in the Kashmir valley as part of the Victor Force. "As requested by the officer and approved by Army Headquarters; he will be taking on the duties of patrolling, guard and post duty and would be staying with troops," the statement read.
The 38-year-old holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army unit of the Parachute Regiment (106 Para TA battalion).
The honor was accorded to him by the Indian Army in 2011 along with Abhinav Bindra and Deepak Rao.
In 2015, the Ranchi lad became a qualified paratrooper after having completed five parachute training jumps from Indian Army aircraft in the Agra training camp.
Earlier, the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman had made himself unavailable for the West Indies tour where India will be playing three T20Is, three ODIs and two Test matches beginning August 3.
Ever since the culmination of the World Cup in the UK where India reached the semi-finals, speculation has been rife about Dhoni's retirement, but the team management has asked him to hang around as they groom Rishabh Pant with an eye on the 2020 World T20 in Australia.