Agency NEW DELHI: Rishabh Pant is a “champion cricketer in the making”, who is very much in the mix for the 2019 India’s World Cup campaign for his ability to seamlessly switch formats, says chairman of selector MSK Prasad. After being “rested” for the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand, there have been conjectures about his place in the England-bound squad but Prasad set the record straight about selection committee’s plans about talents such as Pant and Shubman Gill. “Rishabh Pant played three T20s and four Test matches in Australia and that had an impact on his body. He needed complete rest for two weeks and then we will take a call on how many matches he will play against England Lions. Let me put it straight, he is very much in our World Cup plans. He is a champion player in the making and even he is not fully aware the kind of potential he has,” Prasad told PTI in an exclusive interview. Prasad is happy that Pant is now understanding what skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri expect of him and Sydney was a testimony to that. “Ravi and Virat had advised him to put his head down and respect the match situation and he did exactly that. He proved that he can switch gears seamlessly. When we picked him for Tests, experts were sceptical about his keeping but 11 catches in a Test in England, record dismissals in Australia series proves that selection committee is vindicated,” the former India keeper stated. The head of selection committee is equally excited about young Shubman Gill as he feels that the enormously talented Punjab batsman is now ready for international cricket. “Shubman is comfortable both opening the innings as well as playing in the middle-order. For New Zealand series, we are looking at him as the reserve opener behind Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma). I won’t comment if he will make it to World Cup but he was phenomenal as an opener for India A in New Zealand. “We have discussed with Rahul (Dravid), that Shubman is ready for international cricket. The best part is the clutch of A tours which has made all these players battle ready for the biggest challenge,” the eloquent Prasad said. The likes of Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Khaleel Ahmed have all been impressive in international cricket and that makes Prasad very happy.
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