Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1: Putting an end to the speculations, India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday (November 1) claimed that veteran cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni's T20 career isn't over.
Addressing the media during the post-match press conference, when asked about Dhoni's T20I future, the captain said that the selectors have already discussed this issue at length and he has nothing to add. Kohli went on to add that Dhoni still remains an integral part of the limited-overs team.
"I think the selector has already explained what happened and I don't think I need to sit here and explain it more. I wasn't a part of that conversation but it is not what people are making out of it. I can assure you that he (Dhoni) is still a very integral part of this team and it was only about giving chance to others.
"The selector felt that in T20 format, Rishabh Pant can be given a chance, he (Dhoni) anyway plays ODIs for us regularly. It was about giving chances to a youngster and it has nothing to do with what people are thinking and I as a captain can certainly assure you that," Kohli said.
He (MS Dhoni) anyways plays the ODIs for us regularly,so from that point of view, he’s only trying to help a youngster. It has got nothing to do with anything that other ppl are thinking&I as captain can certainly assure you of that: Virat Kohli on MS Dhoni dropped from T20 squad pic.twitter.com/v9EAvt7q76— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2018
Meanwhile, when former India captain Sachin Tendulkar was asked about the same issue the cricketing legend said, "I don't know what's the mindset of the selectors is & I haven't looked to influence anyone by giving opinions as what happens in dressing room & between captain, coach & selectors should stay within them."
I don’t know what’s the mindset of the selectors is & I haven’t looked to influence anyone by giving opinions as what happens in dressing room & between captain, coach & selectors should stay within them: Sachin Tendulkar on MS Dhoni dropped from T20 squad pic.twitter.com/BymXG1rHw8— ANI (@ANI) November 1, 2018
"He (Dhoni) is not going to play the six T20Is because we are looking at the second keeper's slot. So I think we will retain Rishabh and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat," Prasad said.
However, earlier a close member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) claimed that Dhoni was dropped from the squad because of his inconsistency.
"It's a given that Dhoni won't be around when next ICC World T20 happens in Australia in 2020. So, there wasn't any point continuing with him if he will not play World T20," a senior BCCI official privy to selection policy told news agency PTI.
"Obviously, the selectors and team management had a good deliberation on this issue. Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were present at the selection committee meeting.
"You think selectors could have gone ahead without their approval?" the official added.
But Kohli's comments on Thursday hint that Dhoni's career in the shortest format of the game is not over and the 37-year-old could make a comeback in the T20 squad. If Pant and Karthik fail to perform in the T20I series' against Windies and Australia, then the selectors might once again turn their attention towards Dhoni for the three-T20I series against New Zealand.
Speaking about the issues that the team needed to address were taken care of in this series.
"Change-room atmosphere is very important, and when you play like that, the energy is always good. Everyone wants to be part of it. Two areas I can think of (World Cup plans): third seamer - Khaleel has been outstanding.
"Rayudu has also taken responsibility at No.4. God forbid anything happens to Bhuvi or Bumrah, good to have Khaleel who can come in and take wickets. Those two areas we're looking at. And those two have been addressed," Kohli added.