Former captain MS Dhoni returns to the national set-up after two years, this time in the role of a mentor for Team India for the T20 World Cup, the BCCI announced on Wednesday evening while naming the squad for the showpiece event.
MS Dhoni, who retired from international cricket last year, although continues to lead the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, was approached by BCCI secretary Jay Shah with this proposal.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Shah had felt that the 3-time ICC winning skipper is the “only person” who can help out this Indian side, which, under Virat Kohli, has lost their last two ICC knockouts – the 2017 Champions Trophy final and the 2019 World Cup semi-final – and has the respect of every player and the management.
“No one can guide this Indian team better than Dhoni. He has plenty of experience and the players trust him a lot. His presence in the dugout will help players and support staff. Jay (Shah) felt that Dhoni is the only person who can help the team during the T20 World Cup, so he dialled him,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
MS Dhoni keen to contribute to the national team once again: Jay Shah
MS Dhoni had led India to three ICC titles, including the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. The 40-year-old is “keen” to further make contributions to Indian cricket.
Shah also revealed it was his decision to rope in the former skipper, and after MS Dhoni had agreed, he said, captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Ravi Shastri all have happily welcomed Dhoni.
“He was okay with my decision and agreed to be a Team Mentor of Team India for the T20 World Cup only. I am glad that MS (Dhoni) has accepted the BCCI’s offer and he is keen to contribute to the national team once again. MS will work closely with Ravi Shastri as well as other support staff to provide support and direction to Team India,” Shah said.
“I spoke to the captain and vice-captain, as well as Ravi Shastri. They all are on the same page, so that’s why this matter has reached this conclusion.”
India take on Pakistan for their opening encounter on October 24 in Dubai. They will then meet New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other teams from the qualifiers in the Super 12 stage.
India 15-man squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Reserves: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur