It had to happen and eventually, it happened. Veteran India cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni found himself overlooked for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa at home. While the 38-year-old has remained in the headlines for not calling it quits despite growing criticism, the selectors have decided to look beyond him keeping in mind the T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia next year. Dhoni was not there in the two limited-overs series held in the West Indies recently.
However, India Today reported chairman of selectors MSK Prasad as confirming that Dhoni himself expressed his unavailability for the series against the Proteas. The former captain also withdrew himself from the scheme of things when India picked their limited-overs squads for the T20Is and ODIs in the Caribbeans held earlier this month and went for military training. The Ranchi cricketer quit Test cricket in 2014. “Yes he was unavailable for selection,” Prasad was quoted as saying.
Dhoni’s retirement has remained a burning topic in the Indian cricket ever since India crashed out of the ICC World Cup by losing narrowly to New Zealand in the semi-finals last month. It was widely believed that the World Cup was set to be his final international tournament but Dhoni kept everybody, including the national team, guessing about his retirement.
Dhoni was ignored for WI and Australia T20I series last year
Dhoni was excluded from the T20I series against the West Indies at home and against Australia Down Under last year before he returned into the side for the ODIs against the Kangaroos. It was a memorable return for the veteran as he slammed three consecutive fifties to help India win the series. However, Dhoni’s batting came under the scanner during the World Cup as he failed to accelerate on a number of occasions when the team needed.
Dhoni has played in 98 T20Is scoring over 1,600 runs at an average of 37 and strike rate of 126 plus. India picked Rishabh Pant for the T20Is against SA after he slammed a 42-ball 65 not out in the third 20-over encounter with the Caribbeans. Pant is India’s No.1 keeper across formats though he is yet to find firm feet in the limited-over versions as like in Tests.
India will play SA in three T20Is in Dharamsala, Mohali, and Bengaluru between September 15 and 22.
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