Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad disclosed that the young Rishabh Pant is definitely going to feature for India in all three formats.
IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is taking a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, where he is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel. Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Mahendra Singh Dhoni may have pulled out of the upcoming tour of West Indies, but it remains to be seen if he still figures in India’s plans for the future.
The 38-year-old informed the BCCI that he will take a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, where he is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.
India will play three T20Is, three ODIs and two-Test matches during their tour of West Indies, starting on August 3.
As expected, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad chose to side-step questions on Dhoni’s future after the selection meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.
Importantly, at the same time he revealed that Rishabh Pant is the one for the future.
“He (Dhoni) is unavailable for this series. He has expressed his unavailability, but having said that we had certain roadmap and plans till the World Cup. Subsequently, post the World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Rishabh Pant and see him groom. So this is our plan right now,” former wicket-keeper Prasad said.
He also stated that they can’t advise Dhoni on retirement but the selectors are clear with the roadmap for the future.
“Retirement is purely individual. A legendary cricketer like MS Dhoni, knows when to retire, but what is the future course of action, what is the road map that we have to take, that is in the hands of the selection committee,” Prasad added.
On whether Dhoni’s poor strike during the World Cup is a concern for the selectors, Prasad replied: “I don’t think we need to discuss on it. First of all, he is not available and secondly we have already started grooming some youngsters.”
Prasad also disclosed that Pant is definitely going to feature for India in all three formats.
“Pant is going to play in all three formats but we also have to see his workload management. Definitely Saha and KS Bharat will come into the picture at some point of time,” he said.
For India, the tour of West Indies will be followed by a series against South Africa at home.
While Dhoni’s retirement plans are still anybody’s guess, it remains to be seen if the former captain makes himself available for the home series against South Africa.
And if he does, will the selectors take a step back and consider the veteran wicket-keeper or will they persist with Pant?