MS Dhoni’s international return seemed highly unlikely after he was left out of the 15-member India T20 squad for the upcoming three-match series against South Africa. The MSK Prasad-led selection committee announced the squad on Thursday, with Rishabh Pant as the sole specialist ‘keeper in the side. According to a BCCI insider, the present selection committee has decided to look beyond the former India captain.

Dhoni decided to take a two-month sabbatical after the World Cup and although the three T20 internationals in September fell into his recluse period, The Indian Express has learnt that the veteran ‘keeper-batsman wasn’t even considered.

“Ahead of the West Indies tour, the selection committee decided give proper opportunities to Pant. Actually, the present selection committee is only looking at Pant, as he is being groomed,” sources told this paper.

Before the West Indies tour, Dhoni had an informal discussion with chief selector Prasad during which the former had left his cricket future at the hands of the selection committee. Prasad, on the other hand, had laid out Indian cricket’s future roadmap. As the Indian team went to West Indies, Dhoni, an honorary Lt Col of the Territorial Army, patrolled the Kashmir valley as part of his training with the with the 106 TA Battalion (Para).