Sunil Gavaskar passionately advocated for Rishabh Pant’s swift return to the Indian squad, emphasizing the wicketkeeper-batter’s game-changing abilities.

Team India is gearing up for the Afghanistan T20Is, their final bilateral series before the T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and the United States. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are back for the three-match series, with Jitesh Sharma and Sanju Samson chosen as wicketkeepers in place of rested players KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan. This series, coupled with IPL 2024, will help selectors finalize the 15-player squad for the T20 World Cup.

READ MORE | India Announces Squad for Afghanistan T20I Series: Rohit Sharma to Lead, Virat Kohli Back in the Mix

Amid stiff competition, Rishabh Pant, recovering from a 2022 car crash, aims to lead Delhi Capitals in the IPL, and former captain Sunil Gavaskar believes Pant, a potential game-changer, should reclaim his spot in the Indian squad if fit. Gavaskar emphasized Pant’s versatility and impact across formats.

“I see him Rahul as a wicketkeeper as well but I will say one thing before that – if Rishabh Pant is fit on even one leg, he should come in the team because he is a game-changer in every format. If I am the selector, I will put his name first,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“However, if Rishabh Pant is unavailable and KL Rahul keeps wickets, it will be good because the balance will also get created. Then you have the option to play him as an opener or use him in the middle order as a finisher at No. 5 or No. 6,” he added.

According to Gavaskar, the inclusion of Jitesh Sharma in the squad adds complexity to the selection process for the World Cup 2023. Gavaskar valued healthy competition among players and acknowledged Sharma’s impressive batting skills, especially his striking ability as a finisher. In T20 cricket, where wicketkeepers often stay back, Gavaskar highlighted the significance of batting, suggesting that even without extensive wicketkeeping skills, a player in good form can secure a spot in the team.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2024

Senior Sports Copywriter