Retirement is solely Mahendra Singh Dhoni's prerogative but chairman of selectors MSK Prasad on Sunday clearly stated that young Rishabh Pant will be ‘groomed’ as India's first choice keeper across formats in the coming days.
Dhoni has not announced his retirement from international cricket amid widespread speculation but has made himself unavailable for the West Indies series for the next two months. He will be serving his regiment in the paramilitary forces.
"Retirement is purely individual (decision). A legendary cricketer like Dhoni, he knows when to retire. What is the future course of action, that is in the hands of the selection committee. I don't think we need to discuss anything more on it. First of all, he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming youngsters," Prasad said at the media conference.
The former India Test keeper wants Pant to get as many opportunities as can to prepare to fill in the big shoes of Dhoni in the coming days.
"He (Dhoni) is unavailable for the series. He has expressed his unavailability. That said, we had a certain roadmap and a plan till the World Cup. Post the World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Rishabh Pant and to see he is groomed. That is our plan right now and we did discuss this with him (Dhoni)," said Prasad.
Pant was already the number one choice in Tests and now with uncertainty over Dhoni's future, he has become the preferred choice in all three formats.
Tell us dear reader, should Pant replace Dhoni as keeper in ODIs & T20Is?