With the second and final Test of India’s tour to West Indies beginning on Friday, the focus has now slowly started to shift towards South Africa’s tour to India, which begins next month. The ‘five wise men’ of Indian cricket, led by the Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad, on Thursday picked the 15-man Team India for the Twenty-20 International (T20I) series beginning from September 15 at Dharamsala. While the fans were relieved to see the return of Hardik Pandya after the star all-rounder was rested for the tour to West Indies, MS Dhoni was once again conspicuous by his absence.
The selectors went in with almost the same team, thus sticking with the winning combination which beat West Indies by a 3-0 margin in Florida and Guyana. What this also meant was that there was no room for Dhoni, who had made himself unavailable for selection post World Cup 2019 when he announced his sabbatical. While various media reports speculated that the former Indian captain may retire after team’s semi-final exit from the World Cup, Dhoni maintained his silence over the issue and ruled himself out from the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour. However, the eyebrows have once again been raised after his name was missing from the T20I squad that faces South Africa.
And now, the Chief Selector Prasad has himself cleared the air on the issue, revealing the reason behind not picking Dhoni for the South Africa T20Is. “Yes, he was unavailable for selection”, Prasad told India Today when being questioned about Dhoni’s availability for the series. Dhoni had earlier served the Indian Territorial Army in Jammu & Kashmir during his sabbatical post World Cup. However, the 38-year-old’s assignment came to an end earlier this month, and so far there has been no explanation on the reason behind his unavailability for this series.