Opinion: Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni should not play in the same XI for the World Cup
Not much time is left for India to head to England for cricket's biggest tournament - the ICC World Cup 2019. While India are touted as one of the favorites for the World Cup, the decision to pick the number five and six is still in contention with 1ODIs left to play before the premier event.
Barring number five and six positions, India, certainly, have ticked all other boxes for the 2019 World Cup. The top order has been outstanding in the last one-year, prompting India to stick with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as the ideal opening pair with Kohli coming in at three.
Owing to some spectacular hitting in the series against West Indies, Ambati Rayudu has certainly sealed the number four position for himself, thanks to a couple of wonderful knocks of 73 and 100 against West Indies in the second and fourth ODI respectively.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s numbers in the last couple of years might be a sign of worry, however, there is no denying the fact that the former Indian skipper brings much more to the table than just his batting ability and, perhaps, nobody knows it better than the Indian team itself. Also, one doesn’t need to worry too much about his current form as the Chennai Super Kings skipper very seldom disappoints in such big tournaments. Perhaps, Virat would never risk him being dropped from the side for such a big occasion.
Keeping in mind that India would go with five front line bowlers in the side, it would eventually come down to who will play at number six position?
While there are various contenders for the slot with the likes of Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Kartik, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey etc in the mix, the decision to pick one of them would certainly be a tough one for skipper Kohli.
Wicket-keepers Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik have been performing well, of late, and it wouldn’t be a wrong decision to pick one of them in the XI. Thus, Karthik's recent performances should keep him in the side along with Dhoni as the glove man, while the inexperienced Rishabh Pant should sit out for the opening set of games, at least.
However, Kohli would be aware of the fact that among the top six batsmen, none of them is capable enough to help him chip in with some overs if needed, and the skipper would have no option but to make each of their five bowlers bowl their complete quota of ten overs in every match.
That’s where I believe, Kedar Jadhav would fit in perfectly ahead of Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik, knowing how handy he is as a part-time spinner. Perhaps, his ability to spin the bowl would give him an edge over others to cement his place in the XI for the world cup. What do you think?