It was MS Dhoni's idea to keep 5 players on stand-by for Champions Trophy: BCCI
Soon after BCCI announced the 15-man squad for Champions Trophy, a 5-man stand-by list of players was also revealed.
New Delhi: Former Indian captain MS Dhoni, who possibly is playing his last major tournament in the Indian shirt, looks set to be going down the road where Team India will eventually need to replace him. With Rishabh Pant widely touted as the one to replace the Jharakhand wicket-keeper batsman in future, Dhoni made sure that few players including Pant should be kept ready in case an injury sidelines one or two players picked in India's Champions Trophy squad.
Soon after BCCI announced the 15-man squad for Champions Trophy, a 5-man stand-by list of players was also revealed. Now, it comes out that Dhoni, who arguably has the best understanding of the game at present, is not just resting on his laurels and waiting for the day when he bids farewell to the game.
As per a report in The Times Of India, Dhoni himself had asked BCCI to keep 5 stand-by players ready for unforeseen circumstances that might take place in England considering the players have been playing non-stop cricket for the past nine months or so.
"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 was quoted as saying by TOI.
The selected standbys - Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Suresh Raina and Shardul Thakur - will be sent to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore right after the IPL 2017 gets over to ensure that they stay in shape and good form in case the need arises to fly them to England.
While many expected the young prodigy Pant to secure a place in India's 15-man squad, chief selector MSK Prasad took the opportunity to silence the Dhoni vs Pant debate and possible questions on Dhoni's future in the team.
"Not many people realise that in last 10-12 years Dhoni has never had a bad day with the gloves. We always treat him as a batsman but not many people appreciate the phenomenal stuff he does behind the wickets. According to me, he is still the best wicketkeeper in world cricket. He is the best person to guide Virat."
As far as Rishabh Pant's selection is concerned, "It's just the combination because of which he (Pant) missed out. He is definitely a solution for our future. There is no need to worry as he has a long career ahead of him. We will groom him and back him. We will ensure that he is successful in the future."