Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been training with the Jharkhand Ranji team, has taken coach Rajiv Kumar by surprise with his batting prowess despite being out of the game for a prolonged period.

Kumar said that he was expecting the former Indian captain to display some hesitation and rustiness in his batting but he did not offer anything as such and was comfortably hitting the balls with the middle of the bat.

“I will be honest… I thought there will be a bit of rustiness as Dhoni has not trained for quite some time. The last time we had spoken, he had said that he would start in January and here you go. He is a man of his words and it came as no surprise that he was out there training with the guys just like any other regular Jharkhand player. But what surprised me most was how he middled almost every ball, be it in the pacer’s net or the spinner’s net. He even took throwdowns just like a player going through the batting drills does,” IANS quoted the Jharkhand coach as saying.

Kumar, meanwhile, also informed that the Chennai Super Kings skipper has begun the preparation for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He also said that Dhoni spent a lot of time advising the Jharkhand bowlers about their line and length.

The 2011 World Cup-winning captain has been out of cricket since India’s semi-final exit from the World Cup in July last year. Speculations went wild after his two-month sabbatical was over, as many suggested he might not make a comeback to the national team again while some remained optimistic for a Dhoni-show again.

However, during an event in Mumbai in December last year, Dhoni was seen skipping questions on his comeback and said, “Don’t ask me till January.”

A PTI report, meanwhile, has suggested that the cricketer will take a call on his future after the 2021 edition of IPL.