Former BCCI Chief Selectors MSK Prasad feels KL Rahul‘s transformation as India’s limited-overs wicketkeeper will make it difficult for MS Dhoni to make a comeback into the national team if and when he wants to. Rahul was promoted by Virat Kohli to keep wickets for India in ODIs and T20Is during the Australia series at home in January to provided ‘better balance’ and the batsman from Karnataka has since done reasonably well behind the stumps. Also Read - Happy Birthday Dinesh Karthik: Wishes Pour in as KKR Skipper Turns 35
Last October, Prasad had stated that the team is moving on from Dhoni and giving youngsters Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson opportunities. Seven months later, Prasad revealed how Dhoni had expressed his desire to not play for some time and stuck by his statements. Also Read - Has Former India Captain MS Dhoni Retired? Wife Sakshi Quashes Rumours
“We had a discussion and Mahi (Dhoni) didn’t want to play for some time. So we moved on and picked Rishabh Pant and we have been backing him. Now KL (Rahul) has also done extremely well in the matches that he played in New Zealand,” Prasad told Fancode. “So it would have been nice if the IPL was being played and we would have seen old glimpses of Mahi but now it’s a very tricky situation.” Also Read - Virat Kohli Recalls How He Earned MS Dhoni's Trust For India Captaincy, Says Becoming Skipper Not Even in my Wildest Dreams
Prasad served as chairman of selectors from September 21, 2016 to March 4, 2020, and while India did remarkably well to become the No.1 Test team, along with reaching the final of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and the semifinal of the 2019 World Cup, under his reign, the former India cricketer highlighted a couple of matters – involving Ambati Rayudu and Karun Nair – which he wishes he could have handled better.
Rayudu was recalled to the Indian team in September of 2018, with a home of being the solution to India’s No. 4 conundrum. But after investing in him, Rayudu was surprisingly dropped from India’s World Cup squad. Despite being in the reserves list, Rayudu was not added to the squad, even when the team had two injury concerns at the tournament in Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar. This led to the batsman announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket before he reversed his decision.
As for Nair, it indeed was baffling not to see him get longer rope with the Indian team since scoring a triple-century in only his third Test. Since, Nair played only three Test, his last game coming against Australia during the 2016-17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The final nail in the coffin seemed to be when Nair was sent back during India’s 2018 tour of England and the team went ahead with handing a debut to Hanuma Vihari ahead of him.
“I feel bad for Ambati Rayudu, he was in thick and thin of things till the last second of the World Cup and on that day of the selections, he was missed out, there’s no doubt that it’s not only he who felt bad for it, I am sure all of selection committee, all of the members also feel bad for that,” Prasad added.
“Specially, after getting the triple hundred. We couldn’t give him comeback opportunity. We did give him in England series but he didn’t get a match to play. It happens very rarely that someone hits a triple hundred in international cricket and we couldn’t give him a comeback opportunity, it’s really heart-breaking, not only for him but all of us.”