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Dhoni opts out of West Indies tour to serve with army regiment

M.S. Dhoni has decided to make himself unavailable for India's tour of the West Indies to serve his army regiment although he does not plan on retiring from the game soon as suggested by reports.

Former skipper Dhoni, under whose leadership India won the 2011 World Cup, is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army.

The 38-year-old had earlier informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about his decision to skip the tour to spend time with the paramilitary regiment, a BCCI official revealed on Saturday.

"M.S. Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now," the official emphasized.

"He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier," he added.

Dhoni ran into trouble during the World Cup in England and Wales when he was ordered by the ICC to remove the regimental dagger insignia from his wicketkeeper's gloves as it was a breach of the rules.

India's tour of the Caribbean Islands kickstarts on August 3 as the series will comprise of two Tests, three T20 internationals and three one-day internationals.

India's shock defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final has put into perspective the fragile middle order as selectors aim to ignite the rebuilding process.

Doubts continue to persist over Dhoni's future in the team particularly after his underwhelming form in the World Cup became a heated topic of discussion.

Pressure has been mounting on Dhoni with speculation rife regarding his imminent retirement.

However, the BCCI official admitted the board would not force any cricketer to quit.

With Dhoni out of the squad, it seems inevitable that Rishabh Pant will take over the wicketkeeping duties against the West Indies.

The team management will be focusing its attention on the T20 World Cup next year in Australia and thus Pant is expected to get priority in the shortest format.