Kohli: Dhoni still in the plans for ODI cricket

India skipper Virat Kohli says that wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni is still a big part of India’s plans in ODI cricket.

Dhoni was dropped from the T20I squads to face the West Indies at home and Australia away but Kohli rubbished suggestions that the finisher was being pushed out of the white-ball squads.

When asked about the decision at the post-match press conference following India’s series clinching win over the West Indies Kohli said: “I think the selectors have already addressed this if I’m not wrong. And he’s been spoken to, firstly… So, I don’t see any reason why I should be sitting here and explaining that. I think the selectors have come out and explained exactly what happened.

“I was not part of that conversation so… It is what the selectors explained. I think people are putting too much variables into the situation, which is not the case I can assure you of that. He’s still a very integral part of this team and he just feels that in the T20 format, someone like Rishabh can get more chances.”

His advanced age and the fact that the next World T20 is only in 2020 could mean Dhoni has played his last T20I but Kohli is keen to keep Dhoni around.

“He anyway plays the ODIs for us regularly, so… From that point of view, he’s only trying to help the youngsters; nothing that anything that other people are thinking and I as captain can certainly assure you of that,” Kohli said.

Kohli also said that the future involvement of man of the match in the fifth ODI against the West Indies, Ravindra Jadeja, was largely dependent on the availability of seam-bowling allrounder Hardik Pandya.

“It depends. When Hardik (Pandya) is fit and fine to play, you have to see what is the combination you have to take in the World Cup. If Hardik is fit, Kedar becomes a spin option as well. Hardik becoming fit also gives you four seaming options, along with Kedar and one more spinner. You might need one more spin option. Jadeja becomes the key there with the team balance.

“In the Test matches as well, I think he batted and bowled very well. I get a sense that he understands his game much better. He has obviously gone back and worked quite a bit, especially in white ball to come back and perform like this. He has been smart about what he wants to do with the field.

“In the field, there has been no question about his ability. With the bat and ball he has matured a lot now and brings balance to any side,” the India captain said.