Veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni's chances of being picked in India's T20 World Cup squad will be "very, very bleak" if the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is not played, former Chairman of Selectors Kris Srikkanth said on Saturday.
Srikkanth said he couldn't be diplomatic about the topic.
"I am not going to be diplomatic. I am talking about if I was the chairman of the selection committee, what would I do. If the IPL does not happen then his (Dhoni's) chances are very, very bleak," said Srikkanth on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’.
Dhoni last played for India in the ICC World Cup semi-final against New Zealand last July.
The 60-year-old Srikkanth said that the interest of the team should come ahead of an individual, even if it involves an achiever like Dhoni.
The 1983 World Cup winner reasoned, "Because straightaway, in my opinion, KL Rahul will be the wicket keeper-batsman. Rishabh Pant, I still think he might be a bit of a doubt, but I believe that Pant is highly talented.
"So, I wouldn't mind taking him along with the squad. But definitely, if the IPL doesn't happen, then Dhoni will have a difficult time getting back into the team for the T20 World Cup."
In the recent past, India coach Ravi Shastri had said that the IPL could be a testing ground for Dhoni.
Acknowledging Dhoni's achievements, Srikkanth, who played 43 Tests and 146 ODIs, said, "Let's be very honest about it. He is absolutely fit, he is a legend, he is brilliant. I am a great fan of Dhoni myself.
"But the question is for the World Cup team. So, you'll have to put the Indian team first and then the individuals."