Hyderabad, Oct 10: Flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant might get picked up for the upcoming limited-overs series against West Indies as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's poor batting form might force selectors to include the Delhi cricketer.
The selectors will pick up India's limited-overs squad against Windies on Thursday (October 11) however, its still not clear if the squad will be announced for the first three games or the entire series, which comprises five ODIs and three T20 Internationals, starting October 21.
Since his debut Test hundred at the Oval followed by a stroke-filled 92 in Rajkot, calls for the 20-year-old Pant's inclusion have only grown louder.
It's still unclear whether skipper Virat Kohli is picked up for the squad or Rohit Sharma - who led India to Asia Cup triumph in Dubai - would be asked to lead the side. Kohli's performance against West Indies in the first Test hinted that the Run Machine is perfectly fit and he might not be inclined to take any further rest.
However, the primary bone of contention will be whether the selectors and the team management will at least agree on having a cover batsman for Dhoni, whose wicketkeeping remains sharp but batting form has been on the slide.
"We all know that Dhoni will play till the World Cup but there is no harm in grooming Pant, who could be a terrific No.6 or 7 batsman, who has the ability to finish games," a senior BCCI official privy to selection matters told PTI.
While Dinesh Karthik is already there, his consistency and inability to finish matches at crucial junctures will keep the team management worried. There are a few other permutations that the selectors might consider.
Kedar Jadhav's dodgy hamstring will rule him out of the limited-overs leg which opens up one potential middle-order batting slot. Ambati Rayudu, after a good Asia Cup performance, will retain his place even if Kohli decides to play.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are set to come back after a much-needed break during the ongoing Test series. Ravindra Jadeja is also expected to make it after his lion-hearted show as Axar Patel's replacement. The axe might just fall on Manish Pandey, who has had a poor run of late since getting a chance against Afghanistan.
(With inputs from PTI)