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Aakash Chopra feels Rishabh Pant deserved a place in the T20I team

The former Indian cricketer backed the inclusion of Karthik and Nehra.

Aakash Chopra (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra feels that the selectors should have picked Rishabh Pant for the 3-match T20I series against Australia. India defeated the visitors in the fifth and final ODI of the series in Nagpur by 7 wickets and sealed the series by 4-1. Soon after the victory, the squad for the shortest format was announced and Rishabh Pant was a noticeable absentee in it. The youngster had fared decently in the lone T20I in West Indies, a couple of months ago. However, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina weren’t picked either and their return to the national side looks a distant dream now.

The 38-year-old Ashish Nehra made his return to the side after overcoming an injury scare which he sustained while playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year. Dinesh Karthik also benefitted from his performance in West Indies and was called back as Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 4 consecutive half-centuries as an opener, was axed. The core of the batting unit was kept same as Shikhar Dhawan returned after spending time with his wife who was unwell ahead of the ODI series against Australia.

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Aakash Chopra analyses the squad

Aakash Chopra, while talking to ESPNcricinfo, analysed the Indian squad for the T20 International series and mainly spoke about the players who were not picked. He also backed the decision of selectors to pick Nehra and Karthik. “Dinesh Karthik is back in the side for the T20Is against Australia. He’s been rewarded for what he did in the lone T20 in the West Indies, a good IPL and the stellar first-class season. Ashish Nehra is also back, someone who is being considered as a T20 specialist. So selectors are obviously looking for horses for courses,” he said.

The 40-year-old also threw the light on the omissions of Raina and Yuvraj. He was also surprised by the fact that there was no talk about Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin being rested this time. “But the ones who are missing out are the bigger names. There is no Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. Does it have something to do with their fitness test or there is more to it something we would want to know? There is no Jadeja and Ashwin and there is no talk about them being rested either. In fact both of them will be playing Ranji Trophy cricket for their respective state sides. So they will be bowling a lot of overs. Just that not in India colours and not against this Australian side in T20s. So may be Indian selectors and the team management is now looking beyond these two when it comes to limited overs format,” he added.

The former cricketer felt bad for Rishabh Pant and opined that he should have been given a chance as the next World T20 is far away in 2020. “One noticeable absentee is Rishabh Pant, somebody who could have been given an opportunity. He did play that lone T20 in the West Indies, got to mid 30s, struggled initially but then eventually found his feet and when you talk about youngsters giving an opportunity, I thought Pant deserved a go because Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be there in the 2019 World Cup is what we’ve been told but the next World T20 is in 2020. That’s a long time away and this was the opportunity, this was the time when the Indian time could’ve tested Rishabh Pant and see what he was worth,” Chopra concluded his analysis.

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