KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant in or out of World Cup squad? Ajay Jadeja and Zaheer Khan weigh in
Rahul and Pant are still fighting to cement their spots for the mega event.
Updated - Mar 7, 2019 11:48 am
The ongoing ODI series between India and Australia was seen by many as an opportunity for both the teams to prepare for the upcoming World Cup. In fact, India skipper Virat Kohli had already made it clear that the series will be used to try out different players and carry out experiments. Unsurprisingly, all eyes were on comeback duo KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. Rahul and Pant have been tipped to be India’s backup opener and wicketkeeper respectively in the World Cup.
However, the team-management threw a huge surprise by not playing either of the two players in the first two ODIs. Given that both the players are low on match-practice as far as playing in ODIs is concerned, the team management’s decision has raised quite a lot of eyebrows. Rahul, who recently impressed in the T20Is against Australia, has not played an ODI since the Asia Cup last year.
On the other hand, Pant is yet to get a game since playing three games in his debut series which came against Windies at home last October. And with time running out to see how both the players fare in ODIs, former India cricketers Zaheer Khan and Ajay Jadeja have weighed in on whether the duo will make it to the World Cup or not. In a conversation with Cricbuzz, Zaheer looked uncertain when asked to give his verdict, predicting that either of Rahul and Pant is a sure shot for the World Cup.
But unlike Zaheer, Jadeja was sure that Rahul will go to England for the competition. “One of the two will definitely reach. Only time will tell whether both of them go to England or just one of them makes it,” Zaheer said. Jadeja was quick to respond, saying: “KL Rahul is definitely going.”
Upon hearing that, Zaheer backed his former Delhi Daredevils’ teammate Pant to make it to the much-awaited tournament. “I think Rishabh should definitely go,” said Zaheer. In reply, Jadeja said: “I agree with him but KL is a surety because a lot of times a captain is compelled to do so. Now that Rahul has scored in his last two games and the team is about to be made, if you don’t fail you are certain to make it.”
IPL performance would not impact selection:
Meanwhile, India skipper Virat Kohli has already said that the IPL will not impact World Cup selection. Well, it more or less makes it clear that Pant and Rahul have a pretty good chance of flying to England irrespective of how they fare in the IPL or how any other players fare.
“I don’t see IPL having any influence on World Cup selection,” he said. “I think that will be a very radical sort of analysis. We need to have a solid team. Before we head into the IPL, we need to be absolutely clear of what team we want for the World Cup.
“I don’t see anything changing despite how the IPL goes for any of the players. If one or two players don’t have a good IPL season, it doesn’t mean that they are out of the picture for the World Cup. Those things are not going to matter,” Kohli had said before the first ODI against Australia.