Aakash Chopra has cast his vote for Rishabh Pant's inclusion in the Indian team in all three formats of the game.
After his exploits Down Under, Rishabh Pant is almost a certainty in the playing XI in Test matches, but that is not the case in white-ball cricket.
The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman was not in the scheme of things for the Indian limited-overs squads before these swashbuckling knocks. It remains to be seen if he makes a return to the Indian white-ball teams after his recent Test performances.
Nevertheless, in a video shared on his Facebook page, Aakash Chopra has asked for Rishabh Pant's inclusion in India's limited-overs teams as well.
"I will be very excited to see Rishabh Pant in all three formats. Don't believe that he is a finished product; he is not. It will take him time to become a finished product and to do well as a keeper. But let's start looking at Rishabh Pant as a package," said Chopra.
"If you are making KL Rahul bat at No.5 or No.6 in ODIs and T20Is, I would say that you should make KL Rahul to open, and you should set Rishabh Pant somehow in the middle because you want to see Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja batting together. If they do that, your statute grows, as you get the firing power," observed Chopra.
"Rishabh Pant is a game-changer" - Aakash Chopra
While acknowledging that Team India are likely to open with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in ODIs, Aakash Chopra believes Shreyas Iyer might be the one to make way for Rishabh Pant in the middle order.
"There is no doubt that you will open with Shikhar Dhawan in ODI cricket at the moment. You can play one out of Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Rahul is going to play; pressure is going to get created on Shreyas Iyer," said the 43-year-old.
The cricketer-turned-commentator concluded by saying that Team India need to keep Rishabh Pant in their scheme of things in ODIs, as he has the ability to alter the course of matches, thanks to his big-hitting prowess.
"You should keep Pant in the team, and when you get the opportunity, you should include him because he is a game-changer; that doesn't change. Your basic quality doesn't change, and he keeps reminding us repeatedly that we need to be patient," concluded Chopra.
While Rishabh Pant might get a chance in the Indian T20I team, it might be slightly unfair on Shreyas Iyer if he has to make way for his Delhi Capitals teammate in ODI cricket.
Iyer has amassed 807 runs at an excellent average of 44.83 and a strike rate of 100.74 in the 50-over version of the game. He has scored a century and eight half-centuries in just 19 knocks. Not too long ago, Iyer was also seen as the solution to India's No. 4 batsman conundrum.