The Indian cricketing fraternity was somewhat shocked to see MS Dhoni not featuring in the squad for the upcoming home T20I series against South Africa.
While there were a number of reasoning and debates for the same on social media, Team India chief selector MSK Prasad has come up with the actual reason.
Here's what he had to say.
Dhoni was unavailable for selection: MSK
As per sources, it was rumored that Dhoni might have been unavailable for selection. Interestingly, on being questioned on the same by India Today, MSK firmly clarified the issue by saying, "Yes, he was unavailable for selection."
Why was Dhoni unavailable for selection?
Further, to clear the air on the same, it has to be noted that Dhoni had opted for a two-month break, following the ICC World Cup 2019, to serve the Indian Territorial Army.
Dhoni had taken the break from July 21, and going by the actual tenure, his break is reportedly ending on September 21, a day prior to the third T20I against Proteas.
Dhoni has completed his army stint after serving 15 days
Considering his stint with the army, Dhoni, who was honored with the rank of Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in 2011, was assigned for a 15-day stint with the Indian Territorial Army.
He was posted for his duties in Jammu & Kashmir, with the Victor Force unit, and was handed the responsibility of patrol, guard and post duty.
Currently, he is on vacation in the USA.
Selection committee also "wants to look ahead" of Dhoni
While Dhoni's return might be imminent sometime soon, the selection committee has already stated that they would want to look ahead of Dhoni in the best interest of Team India's future.
"This selection committee is clear on one front. They will never ask any questions to Dhoni with regards to retirement as that's not their domain," said a BCCI official to PTI.
Rishabh Pant to don big gloves on Dhoni's absence
As of now, young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been handed the responsibilities behind the stumps against South Africa, until the time Dhoni returns.
Meanwhile, the only change in the squad has been in the form of Hardik Pandya, who makes his return and would replace seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India are already coming off a 3-0 win against Windies in the T20Is.
Pandya replaces Bhuvi in India's 15-man squad for Proteas T20Is
India’s squad for 3 T20Is against South Africa: Virat(Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini#INDvSA