M.S.K. Prasad clears way for Dhoni till World Cup

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were left out of Indian side as the national selectors met in Mumbai on Saturday to pick the 17-member squad for the One-day international series against South Africa.

India wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni sends one out of the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.

Ever since Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed over the limited overs' captaincy to Virat Kohli earlier this year, time and again has chief selector M.S.K. Prasad stressed that Dhoni remains the best wicket-keeper in the world.

For the first time, however, Prasad cleared the way for Dhoni to be handling the gloves till the 2019 World Cup. Moreover, Prasad also admitted that the young crop of wicket-keepers are far from being ready for the highest level.

“We are grooming some keepers in India A tours. More or less, we have fixed up our mind till the World Cup (on Dhoni) and we are grooming (youngsters). Frankly, the boys are still not up to the levels we expect. We will keep giving them chances,” Prasad said after announcing a 17-member ODI squad for the six-ODI series in South Africa, starting February 1.

“I think MS Dhoni still remains the No.1 wicket-keeper in the world. Even in the ongoing series, the stumpings and caught behinds he does is phenomenal. I don't think any keeper is close to him in world cricket, forget Indian cricket.”

Over the last year, India has tried out Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson in the development or fringe squads. However, the triumvirate has been found wanting on the skills behind the wickets, thus in a way paving way for Dinesh Karthik's comeback as a reserve keeper cum specialist batsman.

Prasad also stressed that the experimentation with regard to the World Cup squad will continue in South Africa and the selectors in consultation with the team management will strive at zeroing in on a World Cup-specific pool of players by the time India plays the ODI series in England later next year.

“Probably from England series, we will have a core team. We will fix up on a certain number of players and focus on that,” he said.

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma (Vice-capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, Shardul Thakur.