IND vs NZ: No Rishabh Pant In Playing XI? Virat Kohli Confirms KL Rahul Will Keep Wickets in T20Is Too
Rishabh Pant is unlikely to get a place in the playing XI for the opening T20I of the series against New Zealand as India skipper Virat Kohli has confirmed that KL Rahul will continue to keep wickets in the shortest format as well. Kohli said that Rahul will also open the innings in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence.
The update does come as a big surprise but the team management dropped the first hint of moving on from Rishabh when they excluded him from playing XI for the third ODI against Australia even when he was fit for selection. In Rishabh’s absence, either of Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson is expected to get an opportunity. There can also be a case when both of them might play together.
Both the batsmen were included in the playing XI in the third T20I against Sri Lanka. Samson replacing Rishabh hogged more limelight and the youngster (Rishabh) now looks set to make way for others for long.
The latest move also suggests that the team management is looking at Rahul as a full-time wicketkeeper-batsman to replace MS Dhoni. He has enough matches to seal his spot going into T20 World Cup.
Rishabh is a part of ODI squad and will retain his spot in Tests but it is unlikely that he will get to play a game. While Rahul will keep wickets in white-ball series, Wriddhiman Saha will be back to take over gloves in the longest format.
Rishabh might have to wait for long to get his gloves back. He has been given a long rope after World Cup 2019 but it can be said that he was not able to capitalise on the opportunities provided. His shot selection came under the scanner quite frequently and even head coach Ravi Shastri criticised the youngster before the home season. It remains to be seen if Rishabh gets a chance to play a couple of matches in the series.
The rest of combination should largely remain the same. Since it’s a five-match series, every pacer will get an opportunity but the visitors might start with Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami. Thakur’s batting ability gives him an edge over Navdeep Siani.
The first T20I of the series takes place a Eden Park, Auckland on January 24.
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