India squad for the limited over matches against Sri Lanka was announced on Sunday with MS Dhoni finding a spot but there was no place for another veteran Yuvraj Singh. With both stalwarts past the 35 years old mark, their future in the team had come under spotlight with the side likely building towards the 2019 World Cup.
India’s chairman of selectors MSK Prasad cited the example of former American tennis player Andre Agassi who went on to play till 36 years old and won three of his eight Grand Slams after turning 30. “I was just reading [Andre] Agassi’s book, Open, his life actually started after 30 years. Till then he won two or three. His actual life started after that. He lived with media pressure, ‘When are you going to retire?’ But he played till 36 and he won so many Grand Slams. So you never know. We don’t say it is an automatic this thing… but we will see. We are all stakeholders. We all want the Indian team to do well. If he (MS Dhoni) is delivering, why not? If he is not, we will have to look at alternatives,” said Prasad to ESPNCricinfo.
He added that there’s a plan around Dhoni – as is the case with all players. “Discussions happen about everybody. It is not just MS. When we pick, when we talk about combinations, we talk about everybody. You will also see in time to come.”
Dhoni’s chances of playing at the 2019 World Cup in England are still not entirely confirmed. “We will see, we will see. The legend that he is, we don’t want to make it (rotations)… but yes we have a plan.”
Rishabh Pant would be disappointed to have been dropped for the Sri Lanka five ODIs and one T20 series. The Delhi batsman played the solitary T20 against West Indies where he scored 38 runs. But didn’t make a mark for India A in the tri-nation series involving South Africa A and Afghanistan A. He could only score 107 runs in four matches.
“As far as Rishabh is concerned, he is one talent to watch out for the future,” Prasad said. “We have been grooming him for A tours. He went to South Africa on the A tour but he had a pretty ordinary tour but that doesn’t mean he is not on our radar. There is one more A tour coming up. We all know Rishabh Pant more as a Twenty20 player, so we will look at him in that format also.”