Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future is expected to be the prime talking point when the selection committee meets to select India’s squad for the upcoming cricket series against the West Indies. During the recently-held ICC World Cup, a number of experts and fans had raised questions over Dhoni’s inability to rotate strike and score at a brisk pace in the middle overs.
A BCCI official had also told news agency PTI that Dhoni is likely to retire at the end of the tournament. But no official announcement has been made yet, and the wicketkeeper’s selection or ommission for the West Indies tour would shed light on his future.
Despite widespread speculation, the 38-year old hasn’t spoken about his retirement yet. After India lost to New Zealand in the World Cup semifinal, skipper Virat Kohli also lent his support to Dhoni saying that he played an outstanding knock and batted solidly as the team needed a partnership at that point.
The 21-year-old Rishabh Pant is being touted as the heir apparent to Dhoni. With the T20 World Cup slated to be held next year in Australia, the selectors might opt for the young Pant. Dhoni was not selected for the T20 series against west Indies and Australia last year.
Despite not being picked in the initial World Cup squad, Pant was called in as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan. Pant scored 84 runs in the three matches that he played in the marquee tournament.
Another question that is likely to come up when MSK Prasad-led selection panel meets on Friday is India’s middle-order. In the semifinal against NZ, after the top-order was dismissed early, the middle-order could not get India back on track and it was only due to the late charge by Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni that the side ended up close to the target.
After Ambati Rayudu’s retirement and Vijay Shankar’s inability to cement the no. 4 slot, the spot could go to KL Rahul. Rahul excelled as an opener at the World Cup after Dhawan was ruled out. The other names likely to come up are Mumbai’s Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw, Punjab’s Shubhman Gill and Karnataka’s Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey.
Last week, Pandey scored a fluent century for India A in the 3rd ODI against the West Indies A. Shubhman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, stars of India’s U-19 team that won the World Cup in 2017, have also been among the runs in the ODI series against West Indies A. Shreyas Iyer has been knocking on the selectors doors for a while now on basis of his performances in domestic cricket.
It could also be end of the road for the experienced Dinesh Karthik and Maharashtra all-rounder Kedar Jadhav, who failed to perform in the World Cup.
India will play three ODIs, three T20s and two tests on their tour of West Indies, starting August 3.