Rishabh Pant to replace Yuvraj Singh in 3rd ODI, is it a Virat Kohli masterstroke? [OPINION]

West Indies v India, 3rd ODI: Yuvraj Singh & MS Dhoni have not been in good form, giving Kohli solid ground to try out Rishabh Pant, who packs a punch

Rishabh Pant is no more a name we are not friendly with. His maverick knocks during the Indian Premier League has made him a household name for certain. Currently, he is a part of the Indian cricket squad touring the Caribbean islands for a brief One Day International series. Pant is an attacking southpaw, a style Virat Kohli really loves. Virat Kohli, the current captain of the Indian cricket team is someone who loves to back aggressive style of play. He backs his fast bowlers to thick and thin and loves aggressive batsman as well. In 2015, we saw Virat Kohli asking KL Rahul (making his debut) to play a slog sweep when he played a half-hearted shot. Hence, it is evident what are his preferences.

India is in West Indies and have taken a 1-0 lead in the 5-match One Day International series. The first ODI was washed out due to rain and India won the second comprehensively by 105 runs. With 3 more ODI’s and a T20I still to go, India look poised to clinch the series with utmost comfort. Hence it is a chance for Virat Kohli to try out his bench strength. During the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Virat Kohli did not really get a chance to do that as the format was a stringent one. But in this series, we have already got sighters at what Virat Kohli is thinking. He is looking ahead and that is clear.

When asked about Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in the third One Day International, Virat Kohli said, “We’ll sit down and decide as a team about changes that can be made (when asked about Pant). We’ll go to Antigua and regroup, and that’s a possibility as well, give a few guys an opportunity.”

Seniors in the team like Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have not been in the best of forms, giving Kohli solid ground to try out this youngster, who packs a punch.

(These are the pick of shots from the 2nd One Day International)

Senior statesman Rahul Dravid also hinted on the same when he said a couple of the middle order batsman have not been in good touch. Dravid has worked closely with Rishabh Pant in the Daredevils bench and during his U-19 days said,  “It is a call that is got to be taken by the selectors and the management. And what they see as the road map for Indian cricket, and where they see the role of both these cricketers going ahead for the next couple of years. Is there a place for both of them? Is there a place for only one of them?,”

Why is it a Kohli masterstroke, or so we feel?

With Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the twilight of his career and so is the case with Dinesh Karthik. Rishabh Pant could easily fit into the role. He can also be well groomed in time ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.