Dhoni in T20 squad for NZ, Pant dropped from ODIs

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Monday brought back to India’s T20 squad to ensure he gets “enough game-time” before the ODI World Cup but the young Rishabh Pant was axed from the 50-over side for the upcoming series against Australia and New Zealand.

While Dhoni’s inclusion in the shortest format came as a surprise after he was dropped for the Australia leg just last month, Pant’s omission is an indication that he is currently not in the team management’s 2019 World Cup radar as a first XI player.

The convenor of selection committee, Amitabh Chaudhary, refused to comment on the matter but a source privy to the development justified the 37-year-old Dhoni’s selection. “Since there are only eight ODIs (three against Australia and five against New Zealand), selectors want to give MS as much game time as possible (before the World Cup). Three T20Is means 11 international matches through the next one month,” a BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Pant, on the other hand, will come back to play five ODIs against England Lions in India from January 23.

The 16-member squad for the twin ODI series against Australia (starting January 12) and New Zealand (starting January 23) is pretty much the core team for the World Cup in England that starts May 30. The three T20 Internationals against the Kiwis are lined up from February 6.

The selection committee’s decision to bring back Dhoni is set to raise a few eyebrows as the logic given before the Australia T20s was that he was not going to be in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020. The former captain is already retired from the Test format.

“That’s the reason Rishabh is a part of T20 squad. Also now with Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) are fit and Kedar being an off break bowler, it will be difficult for the team management to fit in Rishabh in playing XI in the World Cup unless someone gets injured. Already Dinesh Karthik and KL Rahul are there in case MS gets injured,” he added.

The squads: India’s squad for ODI series against Australia and New Zealand: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami.

India’s squad for T20I series against New Zealand: Virat Kohli(Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed. 

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Dhoni in T20 squad for NZ, Pant dropped from ODIs

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