MS Dhoni, despite being a sharp planner and a safe and agile hand behind the stumps, has been struggling to finish matches with the bat.
Following a late-evening meeting of the MSK Prasad-led selection committee on Friday, it was announced that former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not be a part of India’s Twenty20 squad for the home series against the West Indies and the crucial away assignment against Australia, signalling a possible end to his run in the shortest format.
The committee said that Dhoni, the 2007 World T20-winning skipper, has been “rested” and India are now looking to fill in the second wicketkeeper’s slot.
But when asked if Dhoni’s career in T20s is over, Prasad said, “Not yet”.
“We want to try out other keepers for the second keeper’s slot,” said Prasad.
The two keepers in the two T20 squads announced Friday are Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. The three T20s against Australia will get underway from November 21, followed by a four-Test series and three ODIs.
With Dhoni playing only seven T20Is this year and India’s next ODI assignment only in January against Australia, the former captain won’t be getting any domestic matches with both Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy already over.
The 37-year-old, despite being a sharp planner and a safe and agile hand behind the stumps, has been struggling to finish matches with the bat, something that came naturally to him at his peak and made him a modern legend.
The decision to “rest” Dhoni might just be the first sign of selectors trying to phase out the maverick former captain in at least one format. A veteran of 93 T20Is, Dhoni has 1487 runs in the format at a strike rate of 127.09.
The only T20Is left in the next six months is a three-game series against New Zealand, which is scheduled in February.