After weeks of speculations and deliberations, reports are now emerging which suggest that former Indian captain MS Dhoni has indeed opted out of the West Indies tour and will stay away from the game for two months during which he will serve in his regiment of the Indian Army.
An Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, it is learnt that Dhoni will be spending most of the next two months with his regiment, as per a top BCCI official who has all but put a stamp of approval on this piece of news.
"Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies as he will be spending two months with his paramilitary regiment," the official told news agency PTI. The official also made it clear that there was no talk of him calling it quits from the game and that this will now be intimated to MSK Prasad and captain Virat Kohli.
'Not retiring from cricket right now'
"We would like to say three things. He is not retiring from cricket right now. He is taking a two-month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier. We have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad," the senior official added.
What this effectively means is that the selectors will be more or less give the reigns of wicket-keeping duties to Rishabh Pant, while Wriddhiman Saha, whose injury gave a chance to Pant, will also travel to West Indies as the second option.
As per a report published by India Today, captain Virat Kohli has made himself available for the entire West Indies tour. India are scheduled to play three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against Jason Holder's troops which begin on August 3.
The selection panel is also contemplating on restructuring the middle-order which was one of the biggest impediments in India's World Cup campaign. Also, there are a number of options which would be considered as the number 4 batsman and many young options in Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill and Manish Pandey could get the nod to rejig the middle order.