West Indies tour: Pant to keep in all formats

West Indies tour: Pant to keep in all formats

Kohli available for whole series

Indian batsman Rishabh Pant (PTI File Photo)

The MSK Prasad-led senior selection committee expectedly named Rishabh Pant as the first-choice wicketkeeper for all three formats for next month’s tour of West Indies with the future of long-serving M S Dhoni shrouded in mystery.

Dhoni, 38, has taken a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve his regiment in the army.  “He’s expressed his unavailability for this series,” Chief selector MSK Prasad said on Sunday after announcing three squads for T20s, ODIs and Tests. Virat Kohli is also available for all three formats contrary to speculations that the skipper may skip the limited-overs leg.

“We had a certain roadmap and plans till the World Cup. Subsequently, we’ve laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Pant.”

There are rumours that Dhoni wants to bow out after World Twenty20 next year. “Retirement is purely individual. A legendary cricketer like Dhoni... they know when to retire,” Prasad said.

Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has recovered from his broken thumb that forced him to leave the World Cup midway, but it appeared to be the end of the road for Dinesh Karthik with Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer included to stake their claims for the middle-order batting slots. 

The selectors also opted to rest fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah for the limited-overs matches, including uncapped speedster Navdeep Saini and leggie Rahul Chahar (T20) in the squad.