• Pant to join India World Cup squad?

    India will reportedly add wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant to the squad for the remainder of the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.

    According to a Times of India report, Pant will act as cover for opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who sustained a thumb injury during Sunday’s century against Australia at The Oval in London.

    India’s next World Cup fixture will be against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Thursday. The Black Caps currently occupy first position in the 2019 tournament’s 10-team standings, after three wins in as many attempts, while the Indians are third behind second-placed England.

    Indian captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, has sympathised and apologised on behalf of the crowd after former Australian skipper Steven Smith was heckled on Sunday.

    Smith was fielding on the boundary during India’s innings – and was the subject of ‘Cheater!’ taunts from spectators. Kohli, batting at the time, gestured at the crowd to stop jeering Smith.

    ‘Just because there’re so many Indian fans here, I didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest, because he didn’t do anything to be booed, in my opinion,’ said Kohli.

    ‘He’s just playing cricket. He was just standing there, and I felt bad because if I was in a position where something had happened with me and I had apologised, I accepted it and I came back, and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it either.

    ‘So I just felt for him and I told him I’m sorry on behalf of the crowd, because I’ve seen that happen in a few earlier games as well, and in my opinion that’s not acceptable.’

    Smith recently returned to international cricket after completing a ban for ball-tampering during Australia’s Test tour of South Africa last year. Former vice-captain David Warner served the same sanction. Kohli played against both during the Indian Premier League earlier this year.

    Photo: SPORTZPICS for BCCI

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