MS Dhoni's retirement speculations have been doing the rounds ever since India’s exit from World Cup in July. A two-month sabbatical following the quadrennial event, which saw Dhoni missing the West Indies and South Africa series, has further raised questions on his cricket future.
It was recently revealed that the veteran wicketkeeper has extended his unavailability till November this year, which implies that he wouldn’t participate in the forthcoming series against Bangladesh as well. However, he could return in the white-ball squad when West Indies tour India for a three-match ODI and a three-match T20I series in December.
While there is no clarity on his immediate cricket future, a report published in IANS claims that Dhoni is out of the team for a purpose. By keeping himself unavailable, the 38-year-old has given the BCCI adequate time to prepare young Rishabh Pant as well as a few other wicketkeeping prospects for next year’s T20 World Cup.
Given the fact that Pant is yet to find his feet in limited-overs cricket, Dhoni may still be seen as a backup option. Pant’s tendency to throw away wickets while trying to execute adventurous strokes saw him faced the wrath of the fans during the just-concluded T20I series against South Africa at home.
As the likes of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are doing well for India ‘A’, it might not be long before the selection committee decides to look beyond Pant for the wicketkeeper's role in the limited-over formats.
(With IANS inputs)