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Giving opportunities to Rishbah Pant to see he is groomed: MSK Prasad on MS Dhoni's absence from Windies tour

Giving opportunities to Rishbah Pant to see he is groomed: MSK Prasad on MS Dhoni's absence from Windies tour

Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni was not part of the limited-overs squad that will travel to West Indies for the upcoming series, which starts from August 3. In Dhoni’s absence, Rishabh Pant will take charge behind the stumps. BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad, while addressing the media after announcing the squad, said that the 37-year-old cricketer is unavailable for this series and the team management will take the opportunity to groom the young wicketkeeper-batsman.

“He’s unavailable for this series but we had certain roadmaps and plans till World Cup. Subsequently, we’ve laid down a few more plans and thought of giving as many opportunities to Pant and to see he is groomed. This is our plan right now,” Prasad said during the media briefing.

Prasad also justified the selection panel’s decision to drop Ambati Rayudu from the 15-member squad. He said that the middle-order batsman, who announced his retirement earlier this month, failed to meet certain combinations and was left out.

“When Rayadu was picked for ODIs on the basis of his T20 performance, there was criticism, but we had some thoughts about him. When he failed a fitness test, we put him for a fitness program. Due to certain combinations, he wasn’t picked,it doesn’t make Selection Committee biased.”

Virat Kohli, who was earlier speculated not to be a part of the team, will lead the side in all the three formats. While all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the entire tournament, Jasprit Bumrah will only be available for the Tests. Meanwhile, Shikhar Dhawan, who has recovered completely after sustaining an injury on his thumb, returns to the international circuit.

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