Talks of M.S. Dhoni’s future have made headlines right from his struggle against England in the group stage encounter at Edgbaston in the World Cup. While the team management has made it clear that they havent heard from the former India skipper, it is also unlikely that he will be travelling to the Caribbean Islands for the West Indies series. That provides the selectors with the perfect opportunity to give Rishabh Pant more game time.
While there have been off-record quotes wherein some have said that he is unlikely to continue after the World Cup, there are others who have said that he could carry on and help in the process of transition and act more as a mentor than be a part of the playing XI.
But for the moment, the selectors must look at the job in hand and that is to lay the foundation stones with an eye on the 2023 World Cup which means giving youngsters like Pant a go. While there are a few other options as well with the likes of Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson showing their brilliance on and off on the domestic scene, for the moment it has to be Pant who deserves a go as he has shown sparks which even skipper Virat Kohli has taken note of.
Speaking after the loss in the semi-final against New Zealand, Kohli had Pant’s back when asked if the sweep that the southpaw played off Mitchell Santner was unwarranted.
“He is an instinctive player and did well to overcome that situation and stitch a partnership with Hardik (Pandya). I think the way they played after the loss of three wickets, four wickets rather, was quite commendable and in hindsight he’s still young. I made many errors when I was young in my career and he too will learn. He will look back and think yes, he could have chosen a different option in that situation and he realises that already.
“So all these guys have a lot of pride and passion to play for their country and they are the ones who feel the most disappointed when a mistake happens. On the outside it looks like it was an error but the person who makes it, trust me, they are the ones who suffer the most. I’m sure he will reflect on it and will come out stronger. The talent is there for everyone to see and the character is there. You make errors, you make decisions which are not right at that time and you have to accept it,” Kohli had said.
What better opportunity than the series against West Indies to give the youngster a chance to cement his position as the team’s primary wicket-keeper.