India legend MS Dhoni’s international career appears to be over after the team’s chief selector said they are “moving on” from the wicketkeeper.
Dhoni, 38, who has already retired from Tests, has been left out of the India squad for a Twenty20 series against Bangladesh. Dhoni captained India for almost a decade, from 2007 until 2017. Under his leadership, they won the World Twenty20, World Cup and Champions Trophy.
In terms of victories, he is the most successful captain in all three formats in Indian cricket history. He has also been a formidable middle-order batsman, scoring 10,773 runs in ODI cricket with 10 centuries, but has struggled for form in recent years.
Selector MSK Prasad said India are focusing on Dhoni’s fellow wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant “only”.
“We are moving on and giving opportunities for youngsters,” Prasad said.
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 MS 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 conclusive answer again.
“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,” Prasad said.
Prasad said a decision over retirement or returning to domestic cricket is “purely his personal call”.
“Everything is his personal decision. We have already laid the roadmap for the future in the way we are selecting teams, Prasad said.”
Although Prasad’s panel is already focused on Pant, Ganguly has said he will speak to both Dhoni as well as Kohli on the matter. Upon taking charge as BCCI president yesterday, Ganguly pointed out that “champions” like Dhoni “do not finish very quickly”.
Incidentally, this could be the last time Prasad’s selection panel picks a team, with the contracts of some of the selectors including Prasad running down.
The newly-elected President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sourav Ganguly will decide on the future of the MSK Prasad-led selection committee. Notably, the tenure of the selection panel came to an end after they sat to pick the squad for the Bangladesh series.
Meanwhile, the selectors’ term was four years according to the old constitution but the amended constitution, which has come into effect now, has a provision of a maximum of the five-year term.
MSK Prasad (south zone) and Gagan Khoda (central zone) were appointed at the 2015 BCCI Annual General Meeting (AGM). Technically their term would end on September 2020 as per the new constitution. On the other hand, Sarandeep Singh (North zone) and Devang Gandhi (east zone), and Jatin Paranjpe (east zone) have two years left.
Sourav Ganguly, after taking over the office, indicated that Prasad and Khoda are likely not to continue while the other three will continue. However, one of the BCCI officials said that Ganguly is not aware of the amendments and one needs to intimate him.
“Still the president can keep three, replace two or even ask the Cricket Advisory Committee to pick five new members as a part of complete overhaul,” a senior BCCI member said. “I hope the concerned people apprise the president that all the selectors as per new rule, have some part of their tenure left,” he added.
Meanwhile, the current panel of selectors have come under the scanner for several times during their tenure. It will be interesting to see Sourav Ganguly’s decision of whether to continue with the position.