Saeed Ajmal thinks India missed a trick by ignoring Rishabh Pant from the World Cup squad
Pant is one of the five back-up players to the World Cup squad named by the BCCI.
Updated - Apr 27, 2019 4:35 pm
Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal is not convinced with his country’s selectors dropping pacer Mohammad Amir from the World Cup squad. According to the Ajmal, Amir’s experience would have counted in England’s bowling-friendly conditions even though he has not been in the best of forms of late. The former cricketer also has a suggestion for the Indian World Cup squad as he would’ve wanted to see Rishabh Pant travel to England.
As per Ajmal, 41, India erred by ignoring wicketkeeper-batsman Pant from their World Cup side and should have picked him as a specialist batsman for the big event. Pant lost his place to experienced Dinesh Karthik who would be the squad’s second wicket-keeper after Mahendra Singh Dhoni, set to play his fourth and final WC.
Pant brought new life in the Indian team
“India have a strong bench. Pant is a very good batsman. He has been batting very well in the IPL. He has brought new life in the Indian team. Pant should have been picked as a batsman. But the selectors must have spotted some weakness,” Ajmal, who was a member of the Pakistan WC team that played the 2011 edition and picked the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in the semi-final, was quoted as saying by Sport360.
Pant made a grand international debut in England last year when he slammed a Test hundred at the Oval. Early this year, he belted a 159 not out against Australia in Sydney to register his name as India’s long-term solution for wicketkeeper-batsman in the post-Dhoni era.
However, the 21-year-old Delhi player has not been as effective in limited-overs so far. He was picked ahead of Karthik in the home series against Australia last month and when it came to keeping, Pant failed miserably. The selectors later said that Karthik’s lead with his keeping ability saw him pip Pant for a spot in the team.
Pant, however, has been connecting the ball well in the ongoing Indian Premier League in which he represents Delhi Capitals. However, although the opinions are divided over his exclusion from the WC squad, former India captain and currently the Capitals’ mentor, Sourav Ganguly, felt Pant has age on his side to play in many more World Cups.