There may still be no clarity regarding the future of MS Dhoni, but BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad has made one thing crystal clear: India are readying themselves for life without its most successful limited-overs captain. Prasad, who announced India’s Test and T20I squads for the series against Bangladesh reiterated that the board has decided to “move on” and that the emphasis lies towards grooming youngsters for the future.
India named Sanju Samson as backup for Rishabh Pant for the three T20I against Bangladesh starting November 23 which is an indication that Dhoni is nowhere in picture as the team prepares itself for the T20 World Cup in Australia less than a year from now. Pant has been described as India’s prime contender behind the stumps and despite patchy form, Prasad backed the 21-year-old.
“I have been very clear on this that after the World Cup we have started backing Rishabh Pant. So we will still back him (Pant) and see that he progresses well,” Prasad said. “Of course, he might not have the best of the matches, the way we except of him, but we can still only make a player by backing somebody. So we are confident that he will come out successful and that’s been the thought process post World Cup and we are focusing on Rishabh Pant.
“I made it very clear, post World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters and see that they establish themselves in the side. With Rishabh doing so well and Sanju Samson coming into the side, I am sure, you must be understanding our thought process.”
Dhoni’s topic was one that was also on the newly-elected BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s agenda, who pointed out that Dhoni’s future will be discussed when he meets with India captain Virat Kohli to discuss the plan ahead for India. Prasad said that Dhoni, who’d already retired from Tests in 2014 backed his views of grooming youngsters.
“I made it very clear, post World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters and see that they establish themselves in the side. With Rishabh doing so well and Sanju Samson coming into the side, I am sure, you must be understanding our thought process,” he added.
Reports had emerged that Dhoni might train with Jharkhand’s Under-23 team but there hasn’t been any conclusive development yet. Asked if Dhoni can return to reckoning by playing domestic cricket, Prasad swayed away from giving any defining answer.
“That is purely his personal call,” Prasad said. “Going into domestic cricket, getting his touch back, or thoughts about retirement, everything is purely his personal [decision]. We’ve already laid the roadmap for future, I’m sure you can see in the way we are selecting the teams.”