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ICC World Cup 2019: Why India selected Risbhah Pant in the playing XI

Rishabh Pant replaced injured Vijay Shankar in the playing XI

Birmingham, June 30: Rishabh Pant will make his ICC World Cup on Sunday (June 30) against England and it has been one of the most debated, much-awaited decisions for India. The omission of Pant from the initial 15-man squad was greeted with disappointment and anger by fans and experts alike. But an injury to Shikhar Dhawan opened the doors for Pant to enter the squad and now he will play at Edgbaston.

So, what does Pant bring to the table that makes his exclusion and selection such a hotly-debated affair. A closer look.

1. Why Virat Kohli rates Pant high

1. Why Virat Kohli rates Pant high

"Pant brings in a lot of fearlessness. There is a small boundary for him to play for. Once he gets to 20, then it's a different ball game," Kohli said at the toss. Of course, we have seen that several times in Test cricket in England and Australia when he notched up a hundred each in two hemispheres.

2. Why Pant was initially omitted?

2. Why Pant was initially omitted?

Pant did not get a chance to fly out to England when he was not picked up in the initial 15-man squad. Veteran wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik picked ahead of him because of his experience in front and behind the wicket. It was a clear back-up move for Dhoni, who showed signs of back spasms during the IPL 2019. But Pant was named in the standby list and finally made it to the 15-man squad when Dhawan was ruled out with a left-hand thumb fracture. Even then he had to wait for his chance because the team management preferred the all-round abilities of Vijay Shankar. But since he has not really made an impact, they turned towards Pant.

3. What Pant can do?

3. What Pant can do?

Pant can be a bit of floater in the Indian batting line-up. He can be asked to open the innings along with Rohit Sharma. KL Rahul then can go down and bat No 4, bringing in a bit of solidity there. And Pant can also bat at No 4 or even down depending on the situation and his explosiveness of the bat can be a boon for the team in the death overs. By including Pant, India have added a bit of flexibility too to the batting line-up.

4. The area of concern

4. The area of concern

The only area of concern is that Pant has not really replicated his Test cricket of T20 form in ODI cricket and has at the best been below average. The team management will be hoping that Pant will find the middle-path between Tests and T20 in the World Cup.

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Story first published: Sunday, June 30, 2019, 15:32 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 30, 2019
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