Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals‘ (DC) co-owner Parth Jindal, the director of JSW Sports, has questioned the exclusion of DC players Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin from the national side in a series of tweets, a first for someone at his capacity to raise concerns or question the national selection matters, with regards to players of the respective franchises.
Pant, not long ago touted as the successor to MS Dhoni in all three formats for India behind the stumps, has had not got a single game in the ongoing New Zealand series (5 T20Is and 3 ODIs), while Ashwin last played in an Indian limited-over side way back in 2017 – in the ODI series against West Indies away from home.
Calling Ashwin a wicket-taker and a player with X-factor, Jindal wrote,” There seems to be an aversion to wicket takers!”. Backing Pant, he opined, “To see a player as talented as him not play the 5th T20 and now the 3rd ODI makes no sense”. Followed by the hashtag #XFactor.
While Pant was retained by Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020 Auction, held in December last year, Ashwin was traded in from Kings XI Punjab by DC during the IPL 2020 trade window.
Ashwin, who has 150 wickets in 111 ODIs and 52 wickets in 46 T20Is, fell down the pecking order with the team management preferring wrist spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the limited-over format – particularly ODIs – and Washington Sundar, a bowler in the similar mould as Ashwin, in the T20Is.
As for Pant, he fell out of favour of the team management after a string of poor performances with the bat and shoddy wicetkeeping. In the seven ODIs that he has played since India’s semi-final exit at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England, the Roorkee-born averaged 27.50 in seven matches, scoring 165 runs. In the T20I format, he averages 20.50 in his 28-match career so far.
Pant has been pushed out by KL Rahul, who is in the form of his life, after taking over the duties behind the stumps from Pant in the 1st ODI against Australia in Mumbai last month. Pant was hit on the head by a Pat Cummins delivery and did not take the field to keep.
And, from the start of the Australia series in 2020, Rahul has amassed 350 ODI runs in six matches at an average of 70, while in T20I he has scored 323 runs in eight matches at an average of 53.83. And behind the stumps, Rahul is yet to make any glaring error.