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Reports: MS Dhoni behind the decision to name five standbys for ICC Champions Trophy 2017

Pant
 was named as one of five standbys for the event
Shankar Narayan

What’s The Story?

On Monday, after much delay, the Indian selection panel picked the 15-man squad for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, slated to be played in just over 20 days time in England.

Along with naming the players who will board the flight, the MSK Prasad-led panel also named five standby players for the competition and if a report in the Times of India is to be believed, then former India skipper MS Dhoni was behind the decision to pick those players as reserves, in case anyone from the present team suffers an injury.

“It was Dhoni's idea to keep the standbys ready. The Indian team has suffered a lot with breakdowns in the middle of big series,“ a top BCCI official told the Times of India.

In case you didn’t know...

The selection panel on Monday announced a rather safe 15-man squad to defend the title that they won in England in 2013, with no place fo the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and others. The panel decided to pick four frontline fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya as the seam bowling option and two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

The heart of the matter

It is understood that the players on standby will come to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru post the conclusion of the IPL to stay ready in case they are required to take the flight to England. The report further said that the visas of these standby players will be ready, to ensure if the need does arise, they are set to go to England.

On Monday, when Prasad was asked about Dhoni and the form he would be carrying into the Champions Trophy, he called the 35-year-old ‘the best wicket-keeper in the world’ and the right man to guide Virat Kohli.

He further added that Pant was someone they were looking to groom for the future.

What’s next?

It will now be interesting to see whether these players will get their chance to feature in the Champions Trophy, god forbid someone, does sustain an injury. Raina and Pant have enjoyed good stints with the bat in the IPL and would look to keep themselves in top shape if the need arises for them to take the flight to England.

Author's take

One can see that Dhoni's decision to tell the selectors to have standbys is a decision made on past experience. The 2011 Tour to England is something that comes to mind immediately when the team suffered because of injuries to many key players and India just did not have the right backup for those cricketers.

So perhaps taking a cue from that experience, he decided to convey to the selectors to have these back-ups, in case something happens to any of the players.


Edited by Staff Editor

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