Indian wicket-keeper and batsman, Rishabh Pant was one of the star performers for the Indian side during the 4-game Test series against Australia.
With a big-time performance in the first innings of the Sydney Test, Pant, with his 159* runs, has put the Indian cricket team selectors in bewilderment in deciding the final roster for the 2019 ICC World Cup tournament, that is to be held in England and Wales between 30th May and 14th July.January 4, 2019
On Wednesday, the Cricket Club of India was buzzing with celebratory cheers on the occasion of Indian legend Kapil Dev's 60th Birthday when former Team India player Farokh Engineer bounced, what is probably the most important question of the hour, at the team selectors: “Would you pick Dhoni for the World Cup? How can you drop Pant? He has done so well,” bombarded Engineer.
When it comes to ODIs, Pant's opportunity to play for the team has been taken away either by MS Dhoni or Dinesh Kartik on multiple occasions. Even when the 21-year-old did get a chance to play against the Windies in a three-game series last year, Pant didn't face a lot of balls to prove his worth as a batsman and got out early.
In an odd complexity of misfortune, Pant is stuck in a unique juxtaposition between “not experienced enough” and “not given enough time to gain experience.”
Ironically, the thing that makes Pant so impressive in the eyes of the Indian cricket fans may also be the bane of his World Cup chances, and that's his age.
With Dhoni and Kartik, both healthy and ready to get in action, probably the most common argument Pant would hear would be how young he is and how he will have many more World Cups to take part in, as he grows older and wiser.
India have MS Dhoni ahead of Pant for the ODI series. pic.twitter.com/XvGwLSg5zM— Dennis Pucovski (@DennisCricket_) January 4, 2019
Despite chief selector MSK Prasad ensuring that Pant was one of the key contenders for a spot in the 2019 World Cup roster, he was not selected for the three-game ODI series against Australia or the five-game series against New Zealand which follows.
Having said that, Pant has been selected to be a part of India A for the five-game series against the England Lions.
If things are considered on a priority basis, Pant's very little experience in the 50-over format of the game, no matter how hapless, makes for a solid case for him to miss out on this year's World Cup.