WORLD CUP 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
MSK Prasad reckoned Rishabh needed rest after a long tour of Australia © Getty
Rishabh Pant was rested, and not dropped, for the ODIs against Australia, India chief selector MSK Prasad clarified on Sunday (January 13), while adding that the wicketkeeper-batsman was very much part of the World Cup plans.
“Rishabh Pant played three T20Is and four Test matches in Australia and that had an impact on his body,” Prasad told PTI. “He needed complete rest for two weeks and then we will take a call on how many matches he will play against England Lions. Let me put it straight, he is very much in our World Cup plans.”
Not only that, Prasad was lavish in his praise of the 21-year old whose performances have enabled the selection committee to give themselves a pat on the back.
“He is a champion player in the making and even he is not fully aware the kind of potential he has,” Prasad said. “He proved that he can switch gears seamlessly. When we picked him for Tests, experts were sceptical about his keeping but 11 catches in a Test, record dismissals in Australia series proves that selection committee is vindicated.”
Another player who has made Prasad’s committee proud over the last season has been Jasprit Bumrah. The way he has progressed through the ranks to become one of Virat Kohli’s go-to bowlers in all formats has been quite sensational. A big part of that growth can be attributed to some really good workload management.
“Trust me, had Jasprit played those two Tests against West Indies, he wouldn’t have played all four Tests against Australia,” Prasad said. “The support staff has really monitored him well. He is now fitter and stronger, and with [bowling coach] Bharat Arun continuously working with him, he has improved as a bowler.
“But a lot of credit should go to Jasprit because Arun gave him a plan but it was up to him to make the effort to implement the plan. He has really worked hard. When we first picked him, so many were sceptical whether it was prudent to pick a white-ball specialist but at the end of the year, we can all see the results.”
Prasad also spoke on the inclusion of Shubman Gill for the New Zealand tour, and what role he would be expected to play.
“Shubman is comfortable both opening the innings as well as playing in the middle-order. For the New Zealand series, we are looking at him as the reserve opener behind Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma),” Prasad said. “I won’t comment if he will make it to World Cup but he was phenomenal as an opener for India A in New Zealand.
“We have discussed with Rahul (Dravid, the A-team coach) that Shubman is ready for international cricket. The best part is the clutch of A tours which has made all these players battle ready for the biggest challenge. Look at Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal… they don’t look intimidated when thrown into the deep end of the pool.”