Sri Lanka vs India 2017: MS Dhoni is not an automatic choice, concedes MSK Prasad
What's the story?
Indian selector MSK Prasad made an interesting statement about former skipper MS Dhoni by conceding that the wicketkeeper-batsman is not an automatic choice when it comes to selection going into the 2019 World Cup.
Talking to the media in Sri Lanka a day after the squad for the ODI and the T20I series was announced, Prasad admitted that he wants to see how Dhoni plays in the next few matches before taking a call on him and drew comparisons between the World Cup winning captain and Tennis great Andre Agassi.
"Agassi's real career only started after the age of 30. He went on to win many titles. Dhoni is not an automatic choice, but let's see how he goes," MSK Prasad.
He also pointed out that Rishabh Pant is one of the players to watch out for in the build up to the 2019 World Cup and the selectors want him to give more chances in the T20s first and figure out his progress, something they did successfully with Hardik Pandya.
"Rishabh Pant is one of the players to watch out for. He didn't have a great South Africa tour. We are looking to give him more chances in the T20 format. Just like Hardik Pandya, we will start with the T20 format and then figure out Pant's progress," Prasad added.
In case you didn't know...
MS Dhoni has been picked in the 15-member Indian squad that will take on Sri Lanka in the ODI and the one-off T20 that will begin on August 20 at the Rangiri Dambulla stadium in Dambulla.
The squad also features the likes of Manish Pandey, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzi Chahal coming back into the squad while the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami have been rested.
Dhoni has been struggling to get going over the last few matches and there were some calls for his retirement from the format to give chances for youngsters ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Prasad also stated that Yuvraj Singh was not dropped but was rested from the team and there will be a new fitness parameter in place to choose who all are eligible to represent India in the future. A player who fails to pass the fitness will not be included irrespective of his status in the team.
He also gave away that KL Rahul will bat at number 4 and there are a bunch of 22-24 players who will be given a brief run in the build up to the World Cup.
It is good to see a national selector elaborating every single decision of a team selection and giving valid reasons for why a player has been picked or dropped.
By mentioning about Dhoni's selection, he has sent out a strong message to Dhoni himself and others who are competing against him for a place in the team.
Now, the onus is on Dhoni to prove why his he deserves a spot in the team in the series against Sri Lanka and if he fails, the fans should be prepared to see their beloved player out of the team.