Aakash Chopra Reckons Rishabh Pant Must Keep Wickets In 5-Match T20I Series
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Aakash Chopra Reckons Rishabh Pant Must Keep Wickets In 5-Match T20I Series

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant File Photo: PTI

Aakash Chopra, a former Indian opener believes India should start with Rishabh Pant as the specialist keeper-batsman in the 5 T20Is against England and release KL Rahul from the keeping duties.

Left-handed southpaw Rishabh Pant made a comeback to the Indian T20I side while another dynamic left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan earned his maiden call-up as India decided to leave out Sanju Samson for the five-match T20 series against England starting on March 12.

Rishabh Pant of India celebrates with Lokesh Rahul (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Rishabh Pant of India celebrates with Lokesh Rahul (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Aakash Chopra: Comeback Man Rishabh Pant Will Play

Rishabh Pant’s re-entry in the shortest format and Ishan Kishan’s arrival means Virat Kohli will be spoilt for choices while selecting the wicketkeeper-batsman for India in the first T20I at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.

“Rishabh Pant has made a comeback and I think he will play. You should play him in T20s, let him keep wickets instead of KL Rahul. It’ll be good for the team,” said Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel.

KL Rahul has been keeping wickets in ODIs and T20Is ever since Rishabh Pant lost his place in the XI after suffering a concussion during an ODI against Australia towards the end of 2019.

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

The right-hander has been doing a great job in both keeping and batting departments with India preferring him as keeper despite including Sanju Samson in a few T20Is in between.

Rishabh Pant’s return to the T20I side after stellar performances in Test cricket against Australia and England however, makes matters more interesting. Considering the fact that he is not among the most agile fielders unlike KL Rahul, it might not be a bad idea to again go back to a specialist keeper for the England T20s.

Aakash Chopra: Ishan Kishan’s Performance Has Been Brilliant As He Scored Runs Consistently

Ishan Kishan is waiting in the wings too. The Jharkhand cricketer, who was Rishabh Pant’s captain in the U19 World Cup in 2016, earned his maiden call-up in the India T20I side on the basis of some consistent performances in the domestic circuit including the IPL. Ishan Kishan got the Indian call-up on a day when he smashed 173 off 93 balls for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored 516 runs in 14 games averaging 57.33 with 4 fifties in IPL 2020.

From left: Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia were on Saturday named in India's 19-man squad for the five-match T20 series against England.
From left: Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Rahul Tewatia were on Saturday named in India’s 19-man squad for the five-match T20 series against England.

“Ishan Kishan’s performance has been brilliant. He has been scoring runs consistently and if we talk about IPL 2020 then he overshadowed some of the big names of Mumbai Indians. Hit big sixes against some of the best like Anrich Nortje, Rabada and batted beautifully,” Aakash Chopra said.

Aakash Chopra was full of praise for Ishan Kishan, who hit the maximum number of sixes amounting to 30 in IPL 2020 playing for Mumbai Indians.

Two more cricketers namely Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Tewaita earned their maiden call-ups for the England series besides KKR’s spinner Varun Chakravarthy who was unlucky to miss the T20I tour to Australia as he was injured at that time. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar made a comeback to lead the pace department as the selectors decided to rest Jasprit Bumrah and not to hurry Mohammed Shami after the pacer recently recovered from a fracture.

The new names include Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Varun Chakravarty, and Rahul Tewatia while Axar Patel and Rishabh Pant also make a comeback. All matches will be at Ahmedabad’s new stadium on 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th March.

Indian Squad For T20Is: Virat Kohli (C), Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan (WK), KL Rahul, Navdeep Saini, Rahul Tewatia, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shardul Thakur, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, T Natarajan, Varun Chakravarty, Washington Sundar & Yuzvendra Chahal.