Hyderabad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s poor batting form might force selectors to include the flamboyant Rishabh Pant when they pick the ODI squad for the limited-overs leg of the ongoing home series against the West Indies on Thursday.
The series comprises five ODIs and three T20 Internationals and starts on October 21.
Skipper Virat Kohli’s presence may be another key issue even though it’s unlikely that he will be inclined to rest for the entire series.
However, the primary bone of contention will be whether the selectors and the team management will at least agree on having a cover batsman for Dhoni, whose wicketkeeping remains sharp but batting form has been on the slide.
“We all know that Dhoni will play until the World Cup but there is no harm in grooming Pant, who could be a terrific No. 6 or 7 batsman, who has the ability to finish games,” a senior BCCI official said.
Since his debut Test hundred at the Oval followed by a stroke-filled 92 in Rajkot, calls for the 20-year-old’s inclusion have only grown louder.
While Dinesh Karthik is already there, his consistency and inability to finish matches at crucial junctures will keep the team management worried.