Mahendra Singh Dhoni might have stepped down as the skipper of Team India but the former captain, it seems, still plays a big role when it comes to making big decisions regarding the team selection. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Monday (may 8), announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy. But at the same time, the selectors also announced a 5-man standby list for the tournament and according to reports in The Times of India, Dhoni has played a big role in it.
The selectors have not sprung any big surprise and majority of the players who are selected were a part of the team that defeated England 2-1 in the ODI series earlier this year. Along with them the BCCI also named Rishabh Pant, Suresh Raina, Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik and Shardul Thakur as standbys. The players have been doing really well in the ongoing Indian Premier League and except Raina, the other players have also enjoyed a very fruitful domestic season.
The report in the news outlet claimed that Dhoni urged the selectors to do so just to keep the backup ready in case any of the selected players suffers any injury. The past few months have seen several Indian players suffering injuries that kept them on the sidelines for a good amount of time. Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami missed months of cricket due to injuries while the likes of R Ashwin, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay are still nursing their injuries.
Moreover, there are still a lot of games left in the ongoing Indian Premier League and one cannot rule out an injury to any player who is selected for the eight-team tournament. In such a case, Dhoni’s proposal looks spot on and the selectors duly obliged by naming a standby list. The news was revealed by a top BCCI official.
“It was Dhoni’s idea to keep the standbys ready. The Indian team has suffered a lot with breakdowns in the middle of big series,” a topmost BCCI executive told The Times of India.
It is learnt that the standby players will attend a preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore for the practice to get themselves ready for the Champions Trophy in case of any emergency of replacing any injured player in the team.
The Champions Trophy will begin on June 1 with hosts England taking on Bangladesh at the Oval while defending champions India will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston.