Rishabh Pant is definitely “one for the future” but former captain Sourav Ganguly is not sure if the young wicket-keeper batsman can fit into India’s World Cup squad. Pant has been picked ahead of Dinesh Karthik for the five-match ODI series against Australia, India’s last 50-over engagement before the mega event in England. In an interview at the Eden Gardens, Ganguly did not seem too convinced on how Pant, who has played only three ODIs, would fit into India’s World Cup squad.
“He has to fit in. I don’t know whether he would be able to fit in at this moment. So it depends. But he’s obviously a player for the future,” Ganguly said about Pant, who has just played three ODIs all against the West Indies in India last year.
Pant has made a big statement in Tests by scoring centuries in England and Australia but he’s yet to make an impact in the ODIs and T20Is. Playing as a special batsman, Pant’s scores read 4, 40 not out and 28 in the 1-2 loss in the T20Is in New Zealand last month, while in the recently-concluded two-Twenty20 series against Australia he made 3 and 1.
India skipper Virat Kohli has insisted on giving him more match time with the five-ODI series beginning in Hyderabad on Saturday. “Karthik is not part of the ODI squad then obviously they are not thinking him as an option. It depends on what the selectors want,” said Ganguly.
“India are a very good side. It’s a very strong side. They are a pretty much self-selected team. I don’t see too many changes in the squad. Bowling is good in (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar). Batting picks itself. Spinners (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kuldeep (Yadav). They are pretty self-selected team.”
Kohli may have cautioned his players against picking up bad habits during the upcoming IPL but former captain said Indian players are too good and will adjust to the 50-over format easily. “It does not bring in bad habits. When you see Kohli bat the way he bats, there are no bad habits at all.
“World Cup is how you play in the World Cup. It’s (IPL) a different tournament. You just play and move on to the World Cup.”
Kohli has said more ODIs in the Australia series would have been more logical ahead of the World Cup. “I do not think so. They are too good and will easily adjust. The whole last year we played. How much we play?” Ganguly asked.
Ganguly also hailed KL Rahul’s solid comeback in the T20I series with the opener hitting 50 and 47 after his return from suspension. “I’ve been harping for him. But he has to score runs away from home. He’s a superb talent. He played superbly in the two T20Is.”
Terming this the strongest World Cup, Ganguly said: “It’s difficult to pick a winning recipe, you just have to play well. This will probably be the strongest World Cup because everybody plays everybody. “A lot of strong teams this time. India, Australia England, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan play very well in England. After winning against South Africa, I hope Sri Lanka turn it around.
“What matters is how you play in the World Cup. India go with very good form with the way they played in Australia,” he signed off.
(With PTI Inputs)