The BCCI has now decided to send the young cricketer, Rishabh Pant to reach England ‘as soon as possible’ as a cover for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan at the ongoing ICC World Cup. The logistics team of the board is finding the earliest possible time to include Pant in the squad.
As per the reports in CricketNext, a BCCI official said, “Pant will be joining the team at the earliest as back-up as requested by the team management. Like Khaleel (Ahmed) he will be traveling with the team but he won’t be part of the squad just yet.”
Pant was earlier excluded from the original 15-member squad for the ICC World Cup and it ignited a huge debate as Dinesh Karthik was preferred as the back-up wicketkeeper. However, the team management is still hopeful that Dhawan to be recovered in a couple of weeks and should be available for the business end of the tournament.
Clarifying the same, a BCCI official said, “Pant has already been informed and his kit, as well as other paperwork, has been handed to him. We are trying to get him to England as soon as possible but it all depends on the BCCI logistics team. However, we want to make it clear that Pant is not available for selection because he is not an official replacement yet.”
Pant along with Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel, Navdeep Saini, and Ishant Sharma were the five stand-bys named by the Indian selectors for the World Cup.
One of the sources of CricketNext said, “The selectors believe that he is a future Indian wicketkeeper in all formats. That’s why he was picked for India ‘A’ tour of West Indies to acclimatize him to the conditions in the Caribbean because the senior team will be touring there after the World Cup. Pant was training rigorously at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as soon as the IPL got over.”
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad along with selectors Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh are traveling with the Indian team throughout the World Cup in England and Wales. Earlier, on Tuesday, the Indian team management has confirmed that Dhawan has been ruled out of three matches due to an injury on his left thumb.
It is expected that skipper Virat Kohli will provide further information on Dhawan’s injury as well as Pant’s arrival at the pre-match press conference scheduled in Nottingham on Wednesday.