Delhi’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant got his maiden One-Day Internationals (ODI) call-up for the upcoming series against the Windies on Thursday.
The left-handed batsman, who followed his maiden Test ton at The Oval with a sparkling 92 in Rajkot in the first Test of the ongoing series, has been included purely as a batsman, while veteran gloveman MS Dhoni will continue to keep wickets.
Having impressed with his performances in the test matches, both against England and West Indies, Rishabh Pant has been called up in the ODI squad for the first two ODIs against Windies. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced squad on Thursday, including Pant in place of the experienced Dinesh Karthik while MS Dhoni continued to hold on to his spot behind the stumps despite a string of poor performances in England and during the Asia Cup.
There were talks of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s poor batting form that could have forced selectors to include the flamboyant Rishabh Pant when they picked the ODI squad for the limited-overs leg of the ongoing home series against the West Indies, here on Thursday.
Skipper Virat Kohli’s presence was also speculated even though it was unlikely that he would be inclined to rest for the entire series. However, the primary bone of contention was whether the selectors and the team management would have at least agreed on having a cover batsman for Dhoni, whose wicketkeeping remains sharp but batting form has been on the slide.
“We all know that Dhoni will play till the World Cup but there is no harm in grooming Pant, who could be a terrific No. 6 or 7 batsman, who has the ability to finish games,” a senior BCCI official quoted yesterday.
India’s squad for the first two ODIs against West Indies: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk),Rishabh Pant, R Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, KL Rahul
India play West Indies in the first of the 5 ODIs on October 21, with the 5th and final match scheduled to take place on November 01.