Preview: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday announced that the selection meeting for India's tour of West Indies will be held on 21 July.
Earlier, it was speculated that the Indian squad will be announced on Friday but now BCCI stated that the team for the upcoming tour of West Indies will be announced on Sunday.
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday made himself "unavailable" for the tour of West Indies but ruled out immediate retirement a day before the selectors meet in Mumbai to pick the squads for the upcoming away series.
Amid mounting speculation around his international retirement after India's semi-final exit from the recent World Cup, Dhoni has told the BCCI that he will take a two-month sabbatical from the game to serve his paramilitary regiment.
Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army.
"We would like to clarify three things. MS Dhoni 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," a senior BCCI official told PTI on Saturday.
Rishabh Pant, who was recently called up as replacement for an injured opener Shikhar Dhawan in the World Cup, is likely to keep wickets while Wriddhiman Saha could be the second keeper for the longer format.
Another issue that would surely be debated is the availability of Kohli, who has been on the road for a while.
There is a school of thought that the skipper could be rested considering the long domestic season ahead, which begins in September, and in this scenario Rohit Sharma could be handed captaincy for the shorter formats.
However, with the two Tests being part of the ICC Test Championship, Kohli could be included in the Test squad. A similar approach could be taken for pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
The MSK Prasad-led panel would also work on restructuring the middle-order as it was one of the primary reasons for India's exit from the World Cup semi-final. Stabilising the number four spot is the need of the hour going ahead.
It is expected that picking the middle-order could lead to the biggest debate as the panel has a few choices among Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey and Mumbai's Shreyas Iyer, who has been knocking the doors after scoring heavily in domestic cricket.
Pandey scored a match-winning 100 for India A against the West Indies A in an unofficial third ODI and after Ambati Rayudu's sudden retirement and Vijay Shankar's failure to nail the number four spot, the focus will be on the trio.
Also, the selectors may consider the talented young Punjab batsman Shubhman Gill and Mumbai's Prithvi Shaw. But Shaw's hip injury could come in the way of him being considered.
A determined Gill has been among the runs in the West Indies tour for India A. Gill and Shreyas could make the cut.
It could also be end of the road for the experienced Dinesh Karthik and Maharashtra all-rounder Kedar Jadhav, who failed to perform in the World Cup.
If Dhawan, who was ruled out of the World Cup owing to a thumb fracture, is deemed fit, he would, in all probability, open with Rohit.
Other regulars, including KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, could retain their places in the limited-overs squads.
Teenage leg-spinner Rahul Chahar could be among the rookies who are at least discussed given the good run he is having with the A team in the West Indies right now. The 19-year-old is a cousin of Deepak Chahar, a fairly established first-class name who has played an ODI and a T20 for India.
Among the new faces, Delhi speedster Navdeep Saini could make the team as he has impressed in the ongoing India A tour of West Indies and even picked a fifer.
The selectors could also look at the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, and Avesh Khan apart from regular pacers Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who could be retained.
Khaleel being a left-arm pacer adds variety to the attack.
India will play three T20Is and three ODIs in Caribbean nations starting from 3 August, followed by two-match Test series which will begin on 22 August.
With inputs from Agencies