MS Dhoni’s days as India wicketkeeper seem to have ended, going by the statements of MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, on Thursday while announcing India’s T20I and Test squads for the Bangladesh series.
Dhoni did not feature in the T20I squad – he’s already retired from Tests – and while Prasad didn’t say Dhoni had been dropped, his answer was unambiguous: “This is our clear thought process that post World Cup we are focusing on Rishabh Pant only.”
When prodded again – he was asked the Dhoni question four times – Prasad said: “I made it very clear post the World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters and see that they establish themselves in the side. With Rishabh Pant doing so well and even Sanju Samson coming into the side [as back-up wicketkeeper], I am sure you must be understanding our thought process.”
Prasad also said that Dhoni had been spoken to about his future and the former India captain “also endorses our view of backing youngsters”.
When asked if Dhoni could make a comeback by returning to domestic cricket, Prasad did not give a clear answer again. “That is purely his personal call,” Prasad said. “Going into domestic cricket, getting his touchback, or thoughts about retirement, everything is purely his personal [decision]. We’ve already laid the roadmap for the future, I’m sure you can see in the way we are selecting the teams.”
Prasad’s made these comments came after the selection committee meeting at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, which was also attended by the board’s newly elected president Sourav Ganguly, India captain Virat Kohli and his deputy in the limited-overs formats, Rohit Sharma.
When asked if the selectors were going to give Pant a fixed number of series before looking at other options, or comeback to Dhoni, Prasad said: “I have already answered, we are backing Rishabh Pant.”