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  5. Exclusive | Indian selectors should play Rishabh Pant in all formats: Sourav Ganguly

Exclusive | Indian selectors should play Rishabh Pant in all formats: Sourav Ganguly

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Sourav Ganugly backed Rishabh Pant to play all the formats for India and said that he could be a game changer for Virat Kohli's men in the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: January 04, 2019 20:50 IST
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Rishabh Pant was kept out of the ODI squad for the series against Australia and New Zealand

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly batted for Rishabh Pant's inclusion across all the formats in the Indian team after the southpaw's scintillating hundred on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Pant smashed 159 not out off 189 balls as India posted a mammoth first innings total of 622/7 before declaring on day two of the fourth and final Test match in Sydney.

Thanks to his century, Pant now has 350 runs from seven innings in the Test series versus Australia and now is the second highest run-getter in the series behind Cheteshwar Pujara, who has amassed 521 from equal number of innings at an average of 74.43.

Following Pant's exploits with the willow on Friday, Ganguly asked the selectors to include him in the ODI squad against Australia as he could be a key cog in the wheel for India in the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.

"He is an outstanding player and all I would like to tell the selectors is that he should play all the formats because he could be a match winner for India in the World Cup. He can play at No.4 because he has an uncomplicated batting style. He plays the fast-bowlers with ease and hits them for boundaries.

In the first two Tests he threw his wicket away but today he controlled himself and his batting never looked in trouble. He is an asset for India and his keeping will improve with time and he will play for India for the next 10-15 years. So, I just want the selectors to add one more player to the team and play him in the upcoming series against Australia and New Zealand," Ganguly said in IndiaTV's show Cricket Ki Baat.

He went on to add that much like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, Pant could be a game changer for the Men in Blue in ODI fold.

"You need players who can change the game for you. Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli will change the game and after these three, Pant could be the player, who can change the game for you...none have the calibre otherwise. Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and even Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play in their own ways but this guy can change the game in even five overs. So, you need to take care of him," Ganguly said.

Pant has been omitted from the three-match ODI squad against Australia as well as the five-match ODI series that follows against New Zealand as Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were the two wicketkeepers in the squad.

However, he retained his place in the T20 squad for the three-match series against the Balck Caps alongside the experienced duo of Karthik and Dhoni. 

India will play three ODIs against Australia, starting January 12 and will then fly off to New Zealand for the five-match ODI series that will be played from January 23 to February 3. The three T20 matches against the Kiwis will be played on February 6, 8 and 10 respectively.

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