Asia Cup 2018: With due respect to former India skipper MS Dhoni and his achievements, it would still have made more sense to blood in young Rishabh Pant for the upcoming Asia Cup. MS Dhoni is at the fag end of his career and he still finds competition from a bright young crop of wicketkeepers from India. The fact that Dhoni still gets the nod over the rest is a testament to the level of fitness the man possesses. But, still one feels it was unjust to not select young Pant, given the confidence and form he is in. He got to make his debut in England after Wriddhiman Saha backed out of the series owing to an injury and Dinesh Karthik was dropped after two Tests due to bad form and that is what ensured that Pant gets a go, and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
The Delhi cricketer slammed his maiden Test century in England, something no other Indian wicketkeeper has ever achieved. Pant played in trying conditions where the ball was seaming and swinging.
Pant is an out and out limited overs cricketer and this is his format, then why not pick him. It is understandable that India wants Dhoni in the side at least till the 2019 ICC World Cup, yet Pant could have been tapped and kept in the side as a pure batsman if not a keeper, he is that good. Earlier in the year, Pant with 684 runs became the highest run-scorer in the Indian Premier League.
Experts too agree that Pant should now become regular in the ODI and T20I format, but it seems he still has to wait. Dhoni is still the No.1 wicket-keeping batsman choice for Team India. But, how justified this tag is? Dhoni’s powers are waning out and he is no more the big, brutal hitter he used to be, hence why persist with him and not look ahead.
In fact, MS Dhoni, who once used to win matches single-handedly was booed in England during the ODI series for his slow batting, something one does not associate with the Ranchi Rambo.
One feels the time is ripe to give the young turk a go, but at the end of the day it is someone else who picks the squad and obviously, it seems he is not on the same page.