• Prasad explains Pant absence

    Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has insisted wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is in contention for a berth in India’s World Cup squad, despite not being selected for the ongoing ODI series against Australia.

    The 21-year-old Pant has played three ODIs and nine T20Is – and has become a permanent fixture in the Test XI for the foreseeable future.

    His prolific talent was on display earlier this year during an entertaining 159 not out against the Australians at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    ‘Rishabh played three T20Is and four Test matches in Australia and that had an impact on his body,’ Prasad told PTI.

    ‘He needed complete rest for two weeks and then we will take a call on how many matches he will play against England Lions. Let me put it straight, he is very much in our World Cup plans.

    ‘He is a champion player in the making, and even he is not fully aware the kind of potential he has.’

    The talented left-hander struck 15 fours and a six during a 189-ball stay in the fourth and final Test in Sydney, largely heeding advice from captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.

    ‘Ravi and Virat had advised him to put his head down and respect the match situation, and he did exactly that,’ added Prasad.

    ‘He proved that he can switch gears seamlessly. When we picked him for Tests, experts were sceptical about his keeping, but 11 catches in a Test, record dismissals in Australia series, proves that the selection committee is vindicated.’

    Photo: Getty

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