Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni were rested for the three-match T20I series against the Windies, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Friday. Rohit Sharma will be leading the 16-man India squad for the T20I series against the Windies in absence of Virat Kohli. Spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and all-rounder Washington Sundar have also been included in the T20I squad for the forthcoming T20I series against the Windies. The 29-year-old Virat Kohli will return to lead team India in the Australia tour with veteran wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay recalled in to the side. Murali Vijay was dropped for the final two Test against England after a poor performance in the first three matches in the away series earlier this year.
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.
In some of the other decisions, Murali Vijay has been brought back in the Test squad for Australia along with the fit-again Ishant Sharma. “Vijay went back and performed and considering the intensity of the series we have brought him,” Prasad said.
Rohit Sharma has been included as an additional batsman in the Test squad and he makes a comeback after being dropped for indifferent form in South Africa.
In the limited-overs set-up, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem received his maiden call-up for the T20s against West Indies.
The BCCI has also selected Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Parthiv Patel, Prithvi Shaw for the India A tour of New Zealand.