MS Dhoni’s future as an India international grew seemingly more unlikely, after MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, said that Rishabh Pant would be India’s top priority going forward.
At a press conference to announce India’s squads for the three-match T20I and two-Test home series against Bangladesh, Prasad said that with Sanju Samson having been brought in as back-up wicket-keeper for the T20 internationals, India have their sights firmly set on the future.
"This is our clear thought process that post-World Cup we are focusing on Rishabh Pant only,” Prasad said in Mumbai. "I made it very clear post the World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters and see that they establish themselves in the side. With Rishabh Pant doing so well and even Sanju Samson coming into the side, I am sure you must be understanding our thought process."
Prasad further said that the selectors’ view of giving youngsters an opportunity has been endorsed by Dhoni himself, while adding that the former India captain is welcome to make himself available again and choose the route he wants to take should he decide to come back.
"That is purely his personal call," Prasad said. "Going into domestic cricket, getting his touch back, or thoughts about retirement, everything is purely his personal (decision). We've already laid the roadmap for future, I'm sure you can see in the way we are selecting the teams."
"I made it very clear post the World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters and see that they establish themselves in the side."
Prasad acknowledged that Pant hasn’t perhaps made the most of his opportunities post-World Cup, with several members of the team management, including head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, having called out his decision-making and shot selection.
Prasad, nonetheless, admitted that time and patience were essential to allow his young talent to flourish and said that India would remain committed to backing Pant for the foreseeable future.
"Of course, he might not have had the best of the matches that we expected of him, but still we can only make a player by backing somebody,” he said. “We are very, very confident that he will come out successful, and this is our clear thought process, that post-World Cup, we are focusing on Rishabh Pant only."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!