New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni at this year's IPL can be a talking point but the tournament cannot be a selection trial for the enigmatic former India captain, reckons former pacer Ashish Nehra.

Dhoni has retired from Test cricket and has not played for India in the limited-overs format since last year's World Cup, where India ended semifinalists.

His comeback and retirement has been a matter of intense speculation. His much-awaited comeback is expected to be with Chennai Super Kings at the upcoming IPL, set to be held in the UAE from September 19.

"For me, MS Dhoni's game never came down," Nehra said on Star Sports' show 'Cricket Connected'. "He knows how to run the team, he knows how to push youngsters forward and all these things I don't need to repeat again and again but I don't think this IPL makes any difference in MS Dhoni's stature or his aura as a player," added the 41-year-old Nehra, who played 17 Tests and 120 ODIs.

"I don't think a tournament like the IPL should be MS Dhoni's selection criteria, it's probably just a talking point," Nehra said Dhoni would remain the first choice of any captain, if he is available.

"As far as MS Dhoni's international career I don't think this IPL has anything to do with it. If you're a selector, you're a captain, you're a coach and MS Dhoni...if he is ready to play, he will be my number one name on the list," he said.

The former left-arm pacer said players will have to behave responsibly during the IPL to avoid protocol breaches like that by England's Jofra Archer during the recently concluded England-West Indies series. Archer had breached the bio-secure protocols and was dropped from the side for the second Test. Nehra said such a breach during an eight-team IPL would be a bigger problem to tackle.

"We have seen one incident of Jofra Archer on what happened, so we are hoping that those kinds of the incidents don't happen. That was a bilateral series where the teams are staying at the ground.

"Either you talk about Southampton or Old Trafford, there are hotels at the ground. But in the IPL that's not the case, so all the players should support BCCI should support IPL in organising things better.

"It's not going to be easy, it's going to be a hell of a job just to organise the tournament (IPL) because you're talking about eight teams. Yes, the good thing is that one won't be required to take flights and everything will be by road, so everything will be close so everybody should really help the authorities.

 

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Southampton: Pakistan slumped to 126-5 before a third stoppage for rain led to an end to play on the first day of the second test against England at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

Abid Ali struck 60 after being dropped twice early in his 111-ball innings and was comfortably Pakistan's top scorer on a tough day for the tourists in changing weather.

Jimmy Anderson was retained for the match, despite struggling in England's three-wicket win in the first test in Manchester last week, and the paceman repaid that faith by removing Shan Masood (1) in the third over and captain Azhar Ali (20) after lunch. It gave England's record wicket-taker figures of 2-35 and he is up to 592 in tests.

After the toss won by Pakistan was made under sunny skies, Pakistan began batting in overcast conditions and a shower brought up an early lunch. More rain came midway through the second session, which the tourists finished on 85-2.

And only about an hour was possible after tea, when Pakistan lost three wickets including Abid, who edged recalled seamer Sam Curran to Rory Burns at second slip.

Burns had been the second slip fielder to drop Abid before lunch, the right-handed opener having already been given a life on 0 by Dom Sibley's drop diving to his left at third slip.

As with Burns, Sibley made amends by taking a smart catch low down to remove Asad Shafiq (5) to give Stuart Broad his first wicket.

That brought Fawad Alam to the crease for his first test innings in 11 years after being recalled and it last four balls, when the left-hander was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes for a duck. A not-out decision was given but England reviewed and Hawk-Eye showed the ball was hitting the top of middle stump.

Babar Azam was 25 not out when bad light eventually led to stumps being called. Mohammad Rizwan was on 4.

Pakistan trails 1-0 in the three-match series. Another victory for England will clinch a first test series against Pakistan in 10 years, and a second series of this pandemic-affected summer having already beaten the West Indies.