It was a surprise to few, especially MS Dhoni's fans when he was left out of India's T20I squad against West Indies and then Australia. With youngster Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik picked over him, it was projected that it may well be the end of the road for the former Indian skipper in the shortest format of the game.
But on Monday, BCCI announced that the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy winning captain is back for the upcoming ODI series against Australia and the subsequent ODI and T20I series against New Zealand.
While a lot of theories have been made up regarding his return, a source within the BCCI has revealed that the decision was taken keeping in mind the 2019 World Cup, for which Dhoni is an automatic starter.
"Since there are only eight ODIs (three against Australia and five against New Zealand), selectors want to give MS as much game time as possible (before the World Cup). Three T20Is means 11 international matches through the next one month," PTI quoted the source as saying.
While Dhoni's return is surely a major talking point, the inclusion of Hardik Pandya is also a welcome news for the Indian fans. The all-rounder has been out of action since the group stage of Asia Cup 2018, when he suffered a back injury during the fixture against Pakistan.
India announced the ODI and T20I squad for the respective series on Monday.