Former England captain Michael Vaughan said that India have to accommodate the swashbuckling wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant in their one-day team no matter what.
Vaughan took to Twitter to express his views and added that Pant should play as a specialist batsman if not as a wicketkeeper batsman in ODIs.
“Without question @RishabPant777 has to be in this Indian ODI team. Even if he plays just as a batsman,” Vaughan tweeted.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 12, 2019
Vaughan’s tweet came after the Indian middle-order failed to put up a brave fight in India’s chase of 289 in the first ODI against Australia in Sydney. India lost Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu early on. Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni did put on a 137-run stand for the fourth wicket but the pair took 28.3 overs to score that many runs and once Dhoni fell, the pressure was on Rohit and he ultimately fell for 133 as India lost by 34 runs.
Karthik came in to bat at No.6 but couldn’t get going and fell for 12 off 21 balls, which further added pressure on Rohit and this where Pant’s attacking batting would have helped.
Pant, who was the second highest run scorer in the four-match Test series between India and Australia with 350 runs from seven innings at an average of 58.33, was not included for the ODIs against Australia and New Zealand.
India decided to go ahead with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik as the two keepers with Dhoni donning the gloves and Karthik playing as a specialist batsman.
Pant’s exclusion was a suprise of sorts but it was played down by coach Ravi Shastri as he said that Pant is crucial to India’s plans in the World Cup later this year and he has just been sent back to get some rest and play domestic cricket, where he has been asked to finish games.
“We have asked him to go back because he played a lot of cricket. He has played non-stop cricket from the month of June. I think he needed a couple of weeks of break and then he will be playing for the India A team, where we have asked him to do a specific job to do – finish games.
“Get into the habit of finishing games. He will be right up there in the thick of things as he is as natural a talent that you can get,” Shastri told India Today.
While the 21-year-old has established himself as the No.1 wicketkeeper batsman in the Tests, he has struggled to nail down a spot in the limited-overs format despite given some chances up the order as a specialist batsman.
Till now, Pant has played three ODIs and scored 41 runs while he has managed to rake up 157 runs from 10 T20Is at an average of 19.62.
However, Pant could well be on the plane to Australia soon as KL Rahul‘s replacement, who has been sent back to India along with Hardik Pandy and are suspended from all forms of cricket pending an enquiry for their comments on Karan Johar‘s chat show Koffee with Karan.