MS Dhoni out to give BCCI time to prepare Rishabh Pant and his back-up for 2020 T20 World Cup: Report
As there continues to remain a ray of doubt over the future of MS Dhoni in the Indian team, it has been learnt that the veteran wicket-keeper batsman is sitting out in order to give the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the time to prepare Rishabh Pant as well as his back-ups for next year's ICC T20 World Cup.
Dhoni was expected to hang up his boots after the 2019 ICC World Cup in England & Wales but no clarification was issued over the subject either during the tournament or after its conclusion. A two-month sabbatical following the World Cup, which saw Dhoni miss the West Indies and South Africa series, has further raised questions on his role in the team.
It was recently revealed that the 38-year-old has made himself unavailable till November this year, which means that he would not be a part of the team for the forthcoming series against Bangladesh either. However, he could return in the blue jersey when West Indies arrive in India for a 3-match ODI and a 3-match T20I series in December.
As per a report in news agency IANS, Dhoni is out of the team for a purpose. By keeping himself unavailable, the Ranchi-born cricketer has given the BCCI time to prepare the promising Pant as well as a few other wicket-keeping prospects for the 2020 World T20. Although there's no clarity as to whether Dhoni plans to play cricket for the Indian team again, he may still be seen as a backup option if the team management fails to come up with a solution.
Amid this phase of uncertainty over the wicket-keeping position in the team, Pant has constantly seen him fall under pressure. India wants to see the 21-year-old play 'fearless' cricket although his 'careless' shots have often let the team down.
With the likes of Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan among the top players waiting in the wings, it might not be long before the selection committee decides to look beyond Pant for the wicket-keeper's role in the shorter formats. Whether Dhoni is just a 'disaster management' solution for the team or a little more than that, remains to be seen.