Flamboyant wicket keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been successful in getting a maiden call-up to the Indian ODI circuit as the national selectors looked like making a way for a succession plan for the iconic World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Pant has 114 and 92 in his bag during his previous two Test appearances and has been a splendid white ball player who had replaced the Dinesh Karthik as MS Dhoni’s back-up.
The hard-hitting southpaw is expected to be the missing piece of Men in Blue’s middle order jigsaw puzzle.
“Yes, definitely but if need arises he will be the backup keeper,” said the chairman of selectors MSK Prasad, when asked if Pant will be playing purely as a batsman.
Indicating that Pant is the long-term investment after MS Dhoni, who remains the first choice keeper till the World Cup.
“It is no brainer who is our No 1 wicketkeeper. In search of the second wicketkeeper, we have given opportunities to DK and right now we are giving an opportunity to Rishabh Pant. At an appropriate time, we will take a call as to who is the best among the two.”
Prasad indicated that they have now zeroed in on a couple of names for the two middle-order slots.
Another interesting inclusion was of Mohammed Shami, who last played an ODI in September last year. He will be looked at as a potential third seamer option.
“I have been telling this for a quite some time that we are just 18 ODIs away from now before we play first game of the World Cup and so we need to figure out our fast bowlers and in this process, we have picked Shami,” said Prasad.
Indian team for first 2 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, Mohd Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur & KL Rahul.