Following Rishabh Pant's maiden hundred in his third Test on Tuesday, former India opener and IndiaTV expert Virender Sehwag has suggested the Indian team management to give him more chances ahead of 2019 World Cup. However, Sehwag strongly believes that Dhoni should continue as India wicketkeeper until 2019 World Cup and the 20-year-old keeper from Rourkee can take over only after his retirement from international cricket.
"MS Dhoni should play as wicketkeeper until 2019 World Cup. Rishabh Pant is not ready for the ODI World Cup yet. However, you can give him more chances in ODIs, T20Is and Tests to help him improve his skills. First, he needs to secure his place in the team, then only we can expect more," Sehwag told IndiaTV on the show 'Cricket Ki Baat'.
"Pant's style of play is suitable for a number six or seven batsman. He can score boundaries and sixes with an old ball, riding his willpower. Rishabh Pant is the perfect batsman to take over after Dhoni's retirement as he can win matches for India," he added.
Pant conceded an unprecedented 76 byes in six innings in the recently-concluded Test series against England although at least 20-25 of those runs were not exactly his fault.
After watching him closely, former India 'keepers Nayan Mongia, Kiran More and Deep Dasgupta believe that Pant is still a "work in progress". (Read full story)
Sehwag also suggested captain Virat Kohli to play Dhoni up the order in the World Cup, which will be played in England from 30 May to 14 July 2019. The 37-year-old wicketkeeper from Ranchi led India to their second World Cup triumph in 2011.
"In fact, Dhoni should play up the order at World Cup so that he can contribute better with the bat," he said.
According to Sehwag, Dhoni's presence in the team reduces the work load and he should continue to keep wickets despite current unimpressive run.
"Dhoni has played many matches in his career and in such a case if some matches go bad, then no one should have trouble with it. He will be the most important player for Team India in the World Cup. Dhoni's presence reduces the load on top of captain Virat Kohli and he has the ability to make strategies," Sehwag concluded.
Sehwag expressed hope that Dhoni will win India's 2019 World Cup, adding that the 2019 edition will be his last.