It would perhaps be fair to say that MS Dhoni's self-enforced exile from not only Cricket but also from life in the public's eyes has gone on for far too long. But now, it appears that one way or another, a return is not far off.
Visuals have been accessed of the former Indian skipper practicing in the nets at the Ranchi Stadium in his hometown. Dhoni appears to be facing deliveries from spinners as well as fast bowlers, and seems to have been at it for some time as over the course of the various clips, the number of people around him can be seen increasing.
Dhoni is fully kitted up, and appears to be favouring the off side in his shot selection, though he does also attempt a flick as well as a sweep.
The practice session is almost certainly with an eye on the upcoming IPL where the Chennai Super Kings' superstar's return to action is likely to be the biggest talking point as the action begins.
Dhoni's last outing in Cricketing terms came in India's ill-fated semifinal at the World Cup versus New Zealand, when his and Ravindra Jadeja's partnership had given India belief that a final appearance could be achieved. However, it iddn't turn out that way, and since then, Dhoni's appearances have been sparse.
While he's not spoken much - or anything - about his future in the game, speculation over whether or not he'll play for India again has been a constant, with just about everyone in the Cricketing hierarchy, from current players to former players to current administrators being routinely asked 'the MS Dhoni question'.
Off the field, Dhoni has been quite busy. He had a stint with the Indian Army shortly after the World Cup - Dhoni is a honourary Lt Colonel with the Indian Territorial Army and has often worn this affiliation on his sleeve - with the presence of the 'Balidan Badge' on his gloves at the World Cup becoming the centre of a major controversy.
Dhoni, apart from also being spotted on Sakshi Dhoni's Instagram posts, was also seen with newly-elected Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren as they inaugurated sports and recreation facilities in Ranchi. Dhoni will most likely be seen in action on the very first day of the IPL as the CSK take on the Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on March 29.