Former India captain Sourav Ganguly didn't expect Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be "picked" for the upcoming T20 Internationals against South Africa and said the team management is absolutely right in persisting with young Rishabh Pant.
The 38-year-old Dhoni's future in international cricket has been a topic of debate with the national selectors showing an inclination to look towards the future.
While Ganguly doesn't want people to "jump the gun" as far as Dhoni's future is concerned, he made it clear that skipper Virat Kohli's "expectations" and "what he is communicating" to the senior-most player in the team is paramount.
"No, I didn't expect him to be picked for this series (against South Africa)," Ganguly replied when asked if he was surprised with Dhoni's omission even though the official reason is his "unavailability".
"You could make out from West Indies (T20) series, that they (team management) wanted to give Rishabh a chance. They want to pursue with him, which is rightly so. Because when MS came in young, he was also persisted with," said Dhoni's first international captain.
Asked if there is this "elephant in the room" (Dhoni) for Pant, Ganguly sounded dismissive.
"There is no elephant in the room. Rishabh is no MS Dhoni and will not become MS Dhoni in the next 3-4 years. It took 15 years for MS Dhoni to become "the MS Dhoni". Dhoni is a special breed in Indian cricket," said Ganguly, who also works with Pant as a 'Mentor' of Delhi Capitals.
But at the same time, he finds it baffling that there were calls from some quarters to drop the young keeper-batsman just because he has failed in one match despite his phenomenal Test record.
"I was reading somewhere after he failed in just two innings in the first Test match, that whether he will play the next Test match. I said "what?", this fellow got a hundred, only one Test ago (in Australia) and a couple of 92s few matches before that (against West Indies). He is special although I won't compare him with Dhoni."