Mahendra Singh Dhoni, an honorary lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army, joined Army troops in the militancy-hit south Kashmir region on Wednesday to carry out patrolling, guard duties and similar responsibilities just like other soldiers.
The former Indian cricket team captain will be staying with his 106 TA Battalion (Para) till August 15 and under take duties with the troops, Army officials said.
“Lt Col Dhoni arrived here today and has joined his unit,” one of the officials said.
The unit is deployed in the militancy-hit south Kashmir region as part of Victor Force.
The 38-year-old World Cup winning captain’s two-week stint with his unit was approved by the Army headquarters last week on Dhoni’s request.
Dhoni was accorded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2011. He is also a qualified paratrooper after having completed five parachute training jumps.
The wicket-keeper-batsman has been conferred the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian award, by President Ramnath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Amid mounting speculation around his international retirement after India’s semi-final exit from the 2019 World Cup, Dhoni had told the Board of Control for Cricket in India he will take a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve his parachute regiment.
Dhoni had made himself “unavailable” for India’s tour of West Indies but ruled out immediate retirement a day before the selectors met in Mumbai to pick the squads for the West Indies tour, starting on August 3.
The Territorial Army is a part of the Army. Its role is to relieve the regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services.