Ashish Nehra explains the reasons why Rishabh Pant should be in India’s World Cup squad
"You need players with X-factor."
Updated - Feb 15, 2019 10:37 am
It’s still not certain at the moment whether or not big-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant would eventually bag a berth in India’s World Cup squad this year. However, there’s no dearth of voice seeking his inclusion and the latest to join the bandwagon is former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra. According to the latter, there is more than one reason in favour of making Pant a member of the Indian squad that will leave for England for the mega event.
The left-arm pacer who played in two World Cups for India – in 2003 and 2011, Nehra has tracked Pant’s growth as a cricketer in Delhi and also on the international stage since he first joined the Sonnet Club. The 39-year-old has in fact given a number of reasons to explain why the youngster merits a place in the Indian team at the ICC World Cup where India will be in the hunt for their third world title.
“In a team, there will always be contributors but at a big event like the World Cup, you need players with X-factor. Rishabh Pant is not a mere contributor but a pure match-winner who should be picked for the World Cup,” India Today cited reports as quoting Nehra.
Left-hand batter Pant adds diversity to Indian batting line-up
Nehra, who took 235 international wickets across all formats and last played for India in November 2017, felt the Indian batting line-up doesn’t feature too many left-handed batsman apart from opener Shikhar Dhawan and including Pant adds diversity to the batting department.
Secondly, as per Nehra, Pant can bat at any position between No.1 and 7 and that allows the team management to use him as a floater and make things more flexible. Nehra, who played in the final of both the World Cups he took part in, also backed Pant’s swift ability to hit sixes as one of the reasons for which he merits a WC berth. He also called Pant the fourth match-winner in the Indian team after captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pacer Jaspriut Bumrah.
“Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik are all fantastic players but they are all in the same mould. You need X-factor which this boy possesses,” Nehra said, adding that both Pant and Dinesh Karthik could be India’s pick for the showpiece event.