Pant and Shankar in contention for 2019 World Cup, says MSK Prasad
What's the story?
Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant are in contention for a spot in the Indian squad that will fight for World Cup glory in England later this year, chief selector MSK Prasad has confirmed. While the selection of Pant has been billed a 'healthy headache', Shankar could slot into the squad as a fourth all-rounder, according to Prasad.
In case you didn't know...
Over the last 12 months or so, both Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant have taken giant strides towards cementing a berth in the national squad.
The young wicket-keeper batsman has only played 3 ODIs thus far, but his Test and List A performances have caught the eye of many analysts, supporters and pundits alike.
On the other hand, Shankar has emerged as an able willow-wielder and a more than handy operator with the ball. He produced two well-crafted innings against New Zealand in the recently concluded T20I series, having been promoted to the number 3 spot.
The heart of the matter
KL Rahul's worrying form of late might have boosted the aforementioned duo's chances of making the final squad.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Prasad announced that both of them, along with Ajinkya Rahane, are ready to challenge for the vacant spot(s) in the World Cup squad. Speaking of Pant's situation, he said:
"Undoubtedly he (Pant) is in contention. A healthy headache. The progression of Rishabh in the last one year is phenomenal across formats. What we actually felt is he needs a bit of maturity now, to gain more experience. That is the reason we have included him in India A series wherever possible."
With respect to the in-form Shankar, Prasad remarked:
"In whatever opportunities he has got, Vijay Shankar has shown the skillsets required at this level. We have been grooming him through India A tours in the last two years. But we will have to see where he can fit in the dynamics of this team."
At the moment, with the major core of the team already selected, it looks like both of the players will face fierce competition to break into the elite WC squad, especially because of the fact that Dinesh Karthik has established himself as a finisher in the side.
India next welcome Australia for 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs, starting from 24 February.