The national selection committee has left out former captain and wicket-keeper MS Dhoni from the T20I squad for upcoming three-match series against the Windies and Australia.
Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik have been picked as the specialist keepers for the two series. However, chairman of selectors M S K Prasad insisted that the decision doesn’t mean the curtains have come down on Dhoni’s career in T20 Internationals.
"Dhoni's not going to play the 6 T20Is because we're looking at the second keeper slot,” he said. “That will be between Rishabh and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat. It is not the end of Dhoni in T20Is.”
Dhoni’s recent form in T20s has been underwhelming and with the next World T20 still a couple of years away, it is clear that the selectors are looking at options beyond the 37-year old. Pant was one of the star performers in the last IPL and has been in eye-catching form of late while Karthik too has performed well in the opportunities he has been granted in the shortest format of the game, including a last-ball six that won India the Nidahas Trophy earlier this year.
However, Dhoni's for in the IPL this season was excellent. He led Chennai Super Kings to the title and played a starring role, scoring 455 runs at a strike rate of 150.66 in the 16 matches he played.
Virat Kohli has been rested for the series against the Windies and Rohit Sharma will assume captaincy duties. Kohli will return to the helm for the matches against Australia that start on November 21. There is a first time call-up to the squad for left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who will feature in the series against the Windies.
The 16-man squad also includes Washington Sundar, who had to return from England earlier this year due to an injury and Krunal Pandya. Both are also in the squad for the games against Australia.
Interestingly, Kedar Jadhav has also been added to the ODI squad for the final two games against the Windies.
Team for three-match T20I series against Windies:
Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Team for three-match T20I series against Australia:
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed.