As the speculations were finally put to an end after the national selection committee for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy while discussing wicket-keeper batsmen Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant followed by Suresh Raina, left-arm unorthodox spinner Kuldeep Yadav and fast bowler Shardul Thakur as all five were put on a standby as the Visas will be made available.

“Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, Shardul Thakur, Suresh Raina were also discussed. Visas will be applied. They will be on standby,” Chief Selector BCCI MSK Prasad said in the much-awaited meeting.

However, Gautam Gambhir, who has been giving his best, during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), was not discussed by the selection committee according to the reliable reports.

“Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are openers. Ajinkya Rahane is back up opener,” Prasad stated.

While praising Team India’s former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Prasad said the Ranchi-lad has played a pivotal role and would be an asset to the team while giving inputs to Virat Kohli.

“We all believe that MSD is still the best keeper in the world. Best person to guide Virat [Kohli], invaluable for the team,” Prasad revealed.

The National Chief Selector of BCCI MSK Prasad stated the body is impressed with the performance of rookie Rishabh Pant while hinting to save him for the upcoming fixtures other than ICC’s mega event.

“We are completely impressed with Rishabh Pant. But he missed out because of squad combination. We will groom him for the future,” Prasad added.

Interestingly, the ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was subject clearance as he was nursing sports hernia, has also been inducted into the 15-men squad after missing the IPL action for its franchise Rising Pune Supergiant.

“Ashwin is fit. RPS [Rising Pune Supergaint] allowed us to rest him. Virat [Kohli] missed a few IPL matches and last Test [Dharamsala] against Australia too. Think he has had enough rest,” MSK Prasad remarked.

While effusively praising Dhoni’s services to the national team, Prasad admitted the fact that the swashbuckling batsman has been a great find for Indian cricket.

“We cannot consider Dhoni’s form as a batsman only. His contribution as a keeper cannot be matched,” Prasad concluded.

Defending champions India will play its first match against its arch-rival Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham.

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    Tahir Ibn Manzoor is a staffer at Sportzwiki.com, who follows cricket like food after listening to running commentary on a transistor radio when he was only eight, and penned down the scorecard when he turned 11. He Tweets @TahirIbnManzoor

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