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In October last year, India selector MSK Prasad announced MS Dhoni’s exclusion from the T20I squad to face West Indies and subsequently Australia. Prasad said India were looking for a “second wicketkeeper”. In ODIs, however, India’s selectors are not recruiting just yet. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Prasad said Dhoni will be the “most important guy for India in the World Cup.”
Here are some excerpts from that interview.
Why was Dhoni left out of the T20I series against West Indies and Australia?
He definitely was not dropped. I personally spoke to Dhoni and the team management. I told them we needed to identify the second wicketkeeper for the World Cup. So we wanted to give some game time to both Karthik and Rishabh, and that is why they played those six T20Is.
.@msdhoni looking in great touch here at the nets session ahead of the 3rd and final ODI against Australia.
— BCCI (@BCCI) 17 January 2019
He (Dhoni) is going to be the most important guy for India in the World Cup: be it in his advisory role to Virat, be it with his wicketkeeping, be it with is on-field mentoring of young players.
Are all spots for the World Cup closed?
Maybe one spot might go to the last minute, otherwise we are very clear about the rest. The reason behind that one-odd spot still being open is due to the new dimension that has come up after the performance of some of the players in Australia and New Zealand.
Any areas of concern?
The middle order was one area of concern. But now, after the series in Australia and New Zealand, we feel we have filled the spots in the middle order. I am very happy the players we brought in to address that concern have done well and delivered.
Will IPL performances impact World Cup selection?
I do not think so, only because we have already made up our minds. We will only be observing the performances of the players we think should be in the squad and the list of stand-byes. We have rounded up on 20 players.