Former India skipper M.S. Dhoni, who led India to three International Cricket Council (ICC) titles, will join the national team as mentor for the T20 World Cup to be held in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman in October-November.
He will work closely with India team head coach Ravi Shastri during the competition, said Indian cricket board secretary Jay Shah during the announcement of the India squad in a press conference.
Off-spinner R Ashwin makes a return to India team in white-ball cricket after four years. The main squad comprises 15 members while there are three standbyes.
"Mr Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be joining Team India as mentor for the upcoming T20 World Cup. I am glad that MS has accepted BCCI's offer and he is keen to contribute to the national team once again. MS will work closely with Mr Ravi Shastri as well as other support staff to provide support and direction to Team India," said Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the media in virtual interaction.
Dhoni had led India to the 2007 World T20 title win, which was also the inaugural world championship in the format. He then led India to victory in the 2011 50-over World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy.
"I spoke to him (Dhoni) when I was in Dubai. He was okay with the decision and he agreed to be a mentor of Team India for T20 World Cup only and I discussed this issue with my colleagues also. They all are on the same page," added Shah.
"I spoke to captain (Virat Kohli) and vice-captain (Rohit Sharma) as well as Ravi Shastri also. They are all on the same page. That is why we reached the same conclusion," said Shah further.
The squad includes only three pace bowlers and as many as five spinners, including the seasoned Ashwin.
Chief selector Chetan Sharma said that Ashwin has been picked on the basis of his performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Meanwhile, MSD's selection has sparked jubilations among the netizens with people cutting across all sections praising the move by the national cricket board.
One Twitterati wrote Immortal - MSD Dhoni.
Another admirer of the Captain Cool went as far as to say that India will end up with the ICC Trophy after 8 year-long years. In his post, he captioned 'MSD will get the farewell he deserved'
A most-followed fan club of the ex-Indian captain also joined the fervour with this celebrating caption.
Even leading Sports portal of the ESPN took to the Micro blogging platform Twitter to share a GIF for MSD's return.
One fan took the development to a new level and shared this interesting caption.
Dhoni coming back to Indian dressing room with a different role. pic.twitter.com/KVg246YELP— Savage (@CutestFunniest) September 8, 2021
The World Cup will be held from October 17 to November 14. India will open their campaign against Pakistan from October 24.
India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), K.L. Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy.
Standbyes: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.