Clearing the air on whether MS Dhoni was dropped or actually rested for the upcoming T20I series against West Indies, and then Australia, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has stated that the veteran wicket-keeper is still a very integral part of the team, but is only trying to give youngsters like Rishabh Pant a chance in the shortest format of the game.
Speaking to the media post India's huge win over West Indies in the fifth ODI, which in turn meant the hosts won the series 3-1, Kohli stated that the decision to 'rest' Dhoni was that of selectors. He said,
"I think the selectors have already addressed this if I'm not wrong. And he's been spoken to, firstly... So, I don't see any reason why I should be sitting here and explaining that. I think the selectors have come out and explained exactly what happened. I was not part of that conversation so.. It is what the selectors explained. I think people are putting too much variables into the situation, which is not the case I can assure you of that. He's still a very integral part of this team and he just feels that in the T20 format, someone like Rishabh can get more chances."
The Indian skipper then went onto mention that despite Dhoni being not a part of the T20Is for upcoming matches, he is still a very important part of the Indian side.
""He anyway plays the ODIs for us regularly, so... From that point of view, he's only trying to help the youngsters; nothing that anything other people are thinking and I as captain can certainly assure you of that," Kohli added.
India announced in October their T20I squad for the upcoming series against West Indies, as well as the series later this year against Australia. While the 16-member team consisted mostly of all the notable names, there was one major exception.
Dhoni was dropped from the squad for both the series, with the selectors preferring to go with the young and dynamic Rishabh Pant and veteran Dinesh Karthik.
"The T20Is here and in Australia, he [Dhoni] is not going to play, because we are also looking at a second wicketkeeper. That will be between Rishabh and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat," chief selector MSK Prasad said while explaining the omission of Dhoni.
(With inputs from PTI)