Rishabh Pant receives ODI call-up

Rishabh Pant receives ODI call-up

Pant pipped Dinesh Karthik as cover for first-choice keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Rishabh Pant, as expected, returned to the ODI set up when the 14-member Indian squad for the first two games of the five-match series against the West Indies was announced here on Thursday.

Pant, an attacking wicketkeeper-batsman, followed up a century at The Oval in the final Test against England with a 92 at Rajkot in the first Test against the West Indies to impress the selectors. The southpaw pipped Dinesh Karthik as a cover for the first choice wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. 

Pant had received his maiden call up in the 50-over format last year when he traveled to the West Indies for a five-match series but the 21-year-old didn't get a match.    

In a squad that had no major surprises, Virat Kohli is back at the helm following his break that saw him miss the Asia Cup. MSK Prasad, chairman of senior selection committee, maintained that Pant was picked as a batting option.

“It's no-brainer who our No. 1 wicketkeeper is. In the search of second wicketkeeper, we have given opportunities to DK (Karthik). Right now we're giving an opportunity to Rishabh Pant. And we can take a call at an appropriate time about who is the best among the two. For now, Pant is looked upon as a batsman but if need arises then he is our back-up wicketkeeper,” said Prasad.

The pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah continues to be rested. In the absence of the established pair, Mohammed Shami has received a chance to resurrect his limited overs career. The right-arm pacer last played an ODI in September last year. 

“We are just 18 ODIs from now before we play our first World Cup game. So we need to figure out our third seamer. In that process, we have picked Shami. Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul (Thakur) and even Umesh (Yadav) are in the race for this slot,” Prasad said.

Kedhar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, both suffering from injuries, weren’t included. Jadhav, pulled his hamstring during the Asia Cup final while Pandya suffered a back injury in the same tournament. “Jadhav is expected to be fit after the first two ODIs. Pandya is not ready yet. As per his reports, he should be fit by the second week of November,” said Prasad.

Manish Pandey, who just played one game at the Asia Cup, was retained.   

On the issue of lack of communication to the players from the selectors – which has cropped up after Karun Nair and Murali Vijay spoke about not having been informed about their non-selection – Prasad maintained that there existed a clear communication process.

 “The team management and the selectors are on the same page. I stand by my statement that we adopt a clear communication policy.”

The squad (for the first two ODIs): Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.