MS Dhoni's future, rest to key India players and other selection decisions for West Indies tour

Ajit Vijaykumar 21:57 19/07/2019
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Dhoni has been struggling with the bat.

The Indian team has hardly had any time to recover from a hectic four months that included the Indian Premier League and a run to the World Cup 2019 semi-finals.

But international cricket continues and India’s next assignment is already round the corner – a full tour of the West Indies including three T20s, three ODIs and two Tests starting August 3.

The Indian squad was supposed to be announced on Friday but last-minute administrative issues and delay in receiving fitness reports meant a two-day delay. As things stand, the Indian team will be picked on Sunday and there are three major issues that the selectors will address:

MS Dhoni’s future

Ever since veteran keeper MS Dhoni failed to take the team past the finish in the World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand, speculation over his future was rife with some expecting his immediate retirement.

Even during the World Cup, legends like Sachin Tendulkar questioned the intent of Dhoni while batting, with the veteran gloveman’s slow yet steady approach looking increasingly out of place. With his successor Rishabh Pant already in the playing XI, it will be interesting to see what decision the selectors and Virat Kohli take. Or Dhoni himself drops a bombshell on Sunday?

Rest to key players

Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami are among the key all-format India players who have played almost non-stop in the last few months and the selectors will look to ensure their their top players don’t push themselves beyond breaking point.

There were reports that Kohli and Bumrah might sit out the entire tour but that is unlikely to happen. What’s more, Kohli might end up playing all three legs of the tour and not share the captaincy with Rohit Sharma, as was speculated.

Test bench strength

The selectors need to a take a call regarding some of the older players in the Indian set-up. With those on the bench – like batsman Shubman Gill, all-rounder Krunal Pandya and quick Navdeep Saini – putting in consistent performances, maybe it is time to given them a greater run in two formats.

It also means the next generation of Indian players might get a chance to not only keep the established seniors on their toes, but even take their position.

In the Test team, the return of Wriddhiman Saha as keeper makes for another interesting scenario as Pant has become the main Test keeper despite his form being the wicket not deemed good enough for 50 overs cricket.

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