On Monday, the Indian selection panel finally announced the squad for the Champions Trophy to begin on June 1 in England. Along with naming the squad, the MSK Prasad-led panel also named five standby players for the competition. And as per Times of India, former India skipper MS Dhoni was behind the decision to pick those players as reserves, to make up for any player who may get injured.
“It was Dhoni’s idea to keep the standbys ready. The Indian team has suffered a lot with breakdowns in the middle of big series,“ a top BCCI official told the Times of India.
The selection panel had no place for Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and others. They picked four frontline fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya as the seam bowling option and two spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
The players on standby will go to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru after IPL ends to stay ready in case they are required to travel to England. The report also said that the visas of these standby players will be ready, so that they are set to go to England if there be a need.
When Prasad was asked about Dhoni and his current IPL form, the chairman of selectors called the former Indian captain – ‘the best wicket-keeper in the world’ and the perfect choice to guide Virat Kohli in decision-making.
He further said that Pant was someone they were looking to groom for the future.
It remains to be seen if these standby players will get their chance to play in the Champions Trophy owing to somebody else’s injury. Pant and Raina have enjoyed good stints with the bat in the IPL and if they get a chance to feature in the CT, one can expect them to perform well.
Do you think Dhoni should retire to make way for youngsters? Comment below!