MS Dhoni, India’s only World T20 winning captain, failed to find a place in the squad for three-match T20 series against West Indies and Australia. MSK Prasad, the chairman of the senior selection panel, didn’t use the word dropped. Neither did he say the door is permanently shut for Dhoni. Instead, he chose to use the words “is not considered for these six T20s because we are looking at a second wicketkeeper. That will be between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat.”
For the T20s against West Indies, India have chosen to rest captain Virat Kohli with Rohit Sharma set to take over. Jharkhand spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who recently registered the best List A figures for an Indian, received a maiden call-up. But the biggest news is undoubtedly the omission of Dhoni as it is the first time he has been dropped since making his debut in 2004. With Pant in good nick and Dinesh Karthik also in the mix, selectors seem to have been thinking towards building a side for the future, keeping in mind the 2020 World T20.
This change might have been necessitated because of Dhoni’s form in limited-overs. With India looking to build a strong team for the World Cup next year, Dhoni has so far appeared as the only weak link. With Pant’s inclusion in the ODIs, the one-dayers against West Indies and Australia might give a clearer indication on whether Dhoni fits into the World Cup plans.
With the chances of winning their first-ever series in Australia looking bright, India have chosen an 18-member squad for the four Tests. Earning back their place are opener Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel who were all dropped from the Test side over the last six months. While Rohit and Parthiv were not considered for selection after the tour of South Africa, Vijay was dropped mid-way through India’s series in England. Rohit has been included because of his strong backfoot play, which Prasad said would be suited for Australian conditions.
Vijay, who had recently hit out at selectors over a lack of communication after getting dropped, has taken the place of Mayank Agarwal — who like Karun Nair has been omitted without even getting a game. His inclusion isn’t surprising considering he showed signs of returning to his old form in the three county matches for Essex.
Parthiv has taken the place of Dinesh Karthik, who failed to impress in the three Tests he played in England. Prasad’s reasoning was, “(Parthiv)..subsequently played in Duleep Trophy where he batted and kept well. If you look at the side, we have brought in youth and experience... we wanted it because it will be a high-intensity series. He can bat anywhere in the top-order if there is a need. Considering all these factors, we picked him.”
As reported by Express, the Indian team-management was keen on sending a few Test regulars to New Zealand with India A team as preparation for the Australia tour. Selectors have included as many as six in that squad for the first four-day fixture against New Zealand A. Mayank finds a place but interestingly, his statemate Karun has been overlooked. Sources indicated that with Rohit, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari all needing match practice before Australia series, it would be difficult to slot Karun for the first match. He will lead the side in the remaining two matches.