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World Cup: Nice guy, finish first! selectors' veiled advice to Rishabh Pant

Chief selector MSK Prasad said 'Pant was almost there' but finishing matches was the important point where they felt 33-year-old Karthik had an advantage over 21-year-old Rishabh Pant

Erick Massey 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant | Photo: @RishabPant777 (Twitter)
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant | Photo: @RishabPant777 (Twitter)

The (BCCI) on April 15 announced the 15-member national squad for the to be held from May 30 in England and Wales.

There were 4-5 slots up for grab as it was evident that remaining seats would go to known names.

ALSO READ: India's 15-player World Cup 2019 squad announced: Check who's in, who's out

Till recently, Rishabh Pant had all in his favour and he was seen as a potential batsman to end India's no. 4 conundrum.

But the selectors had some other plans, they wanted a player who could provide more dimensions (bat, bowl and field) or could finish the matches.

Rishabh Pant Pant is a new weapon in India's batting arsenal and in a short span he has earned the trust and praise of veteran to active players.

Chairman of selectors, MSK Prasad said, "We all (agreed) that either or will come in if Mahi (MS Dhoni) is injured. If it's a crucial match, wicket-keeping is also important. That's the reason we went with Otherwise, Pant was almost there."

ALSO READ: A bit surprised at Pant's omission from India's World Cup squad: Gavaskar

But he later added that finishing the matches was the important factor where 33-year-old Karthik had an advantage over 21-year-old

“That is exactly what we discussed. I’m saying one of the wicketkeepers will make it only if MS is injured. Under pressure, we have seen Karthik finishing matches,” he said.

However, BCCI on April 17 named Rishabh Pant, veteran batsman and young pacer as standbys for the tournament.

ALSO READ: Why Rishabh Pant must be in World Cup squad: Ashish Nehra lists 5 reasons

In January 2019, Pant was named the at the 2018 ICC Awards. Recently he was given level A contract by the BCCI.

In December 2015, he was named in India's squad for the 2016 Under-19 He made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for India in January 2017. A year later, he made his Test debut in August 2018, and just two months later, his One Day International (ODI) debut in October 2018.

Pant has played 5 ODIs for India and has scored 93 runs with the average of 23.25. In 15 T20s, he has scored 233 runs with the average of 19.42. In IPL Pant has played 46 matches, scoring 1493 runs with the an average of 35.55 and a century to his name. Pant has scored 336 runs in 11 matches at an average of 37.33 and strike rate of 163.10 so far in IPL 2019.

In Delhi Capitals' match against Kings XI Punjab, Shikhar Dhawan had given a good start with skipper Shreyas adding runs from other end as the side was chasing 164-run target at the Ferozshah Kotla Ground in New Delhi.

Rishabh came when DC were 128/2, with 36 runs required in 30 balls, Rishabh's role was to accompany Shreyas till they reach the magic number. Pant attemped to hit the ball out of ground but was caught, a similar view yet again for his fans. He again failed to finish the match for Delhi but the side survived on Shreyas Iyer's unbeaten 58.

Pant would look to press his case despite being ignored by the selectors, a sign of which was visible in his last innings against Rajasthan Royals where he not only scored unbeaten 78, but hit the winning run too, that too a six! .

Here are the chosen 15: (captain), (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja.

First Published: Tue, April 23 2019. 00:44 IST