The Indian selectors have dropped a bombshell by dropping Indian legendary cricketer MS Dhoni from the T20I squad that will take on Windies and Australia in the next two series.
What’s been interesting to watch is Dhoni’s record in recent times in T20I cricket hasn’t been too off-beat. In a period between January 1, 2017 to date, India have batted at a strike-rate of 148, and Dhoni’s strike-rate has been 143. A slight drop but not all that too much.
What then has been the issue for Dhoni’s sacking given his wicket-keeping hasn’t really been a factor? If anything, Dhoni, the keeper, has come on leaps and bounds in the limited-overs format.
It could be down to a couple of things.
One, the next World T20 is in 2020 and it’s tough to see Dhoni play on till after the 2019 World Cup anyway. So, this could just be a good time to rebuild and get in the likes of Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan who can easily take over the Indian keeping reins for the long run.
The other factor is the context behind Dhoni’s strike-rate. When Dhoni comes on to bat, one is usually looking at the death overs, time during the innings the team is looking to get on with the scoring from get-go. Can Dhoni do that these days?
The answer is probably no. There has been an obvious struggle against spin for one.
Which is also why it makes a lot of sense to give Pant a longer run now as a keeper-batsman, having tried him in Tests and ODIs as well.
Some of the others who made in to the T20I squad for the series against Windies include Shreyas Iyer, who has a good domestic List A season, Krunal Pandya, who has been on the verge of selections for some time now and Shahbaz Nadeem, who has been a domestic cricket workhorse for a few years now.
India’s T20I Squad v Windies:
Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Krunal Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem
India’s T20I Squad v Australia:
Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Krunal Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed