Team India's young swashbuckling talent Rishabh Pant was given a miss for the series decider at Bengaluru on Sunday, as the team decided to go on with KL Rahul keeping wickets for the side. Rishabh Pant was ruled out of the second ODI after he was hit on his head while he was being discussed, which was later on confirmed as a concussion development. KL Rahul, who donned the gloves for India in the 2nd innings, revealed that he was enjoying the challenge and has looked in fine touch behind the stumps, impressing fans, the skipper and the selectors with his diverse abilities.
Although the team management has repeatedly made claims of Rishabh Pant being the first-choice wicketkeeper for the side, skipper Virat Kohli decided to go ahead with KL Rahul in the third ODI, especially after India's comprehensive win at Rajkot. Playing all their three openers- Rahul, Dhawan and Rohit, India have chosen to leave out Rishabh Pant and stick to the winning combination from the previous game, giving KL Rahul more opportunity to cement his place in the side according to a well-suited role for himself.
Indian commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle pointed out that Rishabh Pant was snubbed despite being fit and pointed out that he should have been included in the XI if he was fit. Harsha Bhogle's insight indicates the new route taken by the team and skipper Virat Kohli in experimenting with KL Rahul as the keeper so that the opener debate settles and that all the team benefits from both Dhawan and Rahul's inclusion, the former as the opener and the latter as an explosive batsman and a street smart keeper. Harsha Bhogle took to Twitter to ponder over the snubbing of Rishabh Pant and what it meant for the young talent in the future.
So it is seems that Rishabh Pant was available for selection today. If he was in the squad as the no 1 keeper and was out only because of injury, surely be had to come right back in once fit again.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 19, 2020
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced new contracts for team India players. Like always, the players were divided into four categories, i.e. A+ (₹7 crore), A (₹5 crore), B (₹3 crore) and C (₹1 crore). Star Indian batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are placed in ‘A+’ category, which also includes No. 1 ranked ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Notably, BCCI left out MS Dhoni from the centrally contracted players and placed Rishabh Pant in ‘A’ category instead.
Having debuted in 2017, Rishabh Pant has displayed sparks of brilliance with his batting exploits. However, the young wicketkeeper-batsman has also been criticised for throwing away his wicket at crucial junctures of a game. The news of Rishabh Pant being placed under ‘Grade A’ category seems to have not gone down well with the Twitterati. Fans took to the micro-blogging site to slam BCCI for their decision.