Rishabh Pant, India, West Indies, Ajinkya Rahane, ODI series
Rishabh Pant will hope to make a big impression in the West Indies tourPal Pillai/Getty Images for Nissan

Rishabh Pant was a little unlucky not to get a call-up to the India squad for the injured Manish Pandey, with the selectors going with the more experienced Dinesh Karthik for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. The exciting youngster will now hope the India vs West Indies ODIs is the series in which he finally gets a proper run in the team.

Pant has come in for Rohit Sharma for the five-match ODI series and only T20 against the West Indies, with the Mumbaikar rested for the tour, after only recently returning from a long-term injury.

So, if it is seen as a like-for-like replacement, then the assumption would be that Pant has been drafted in as an opener, be that first choice, second choice or third choice.

Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan were the preferred opening partnership for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, and apart from that debacle of a final against Pakistan, the two excelled together.

What that also meant was that Ajinkya Rahane, one of India's most important players in the Test format, didn't get a single game.

Ajinkya Rahane, India, West Indies, opener, ODI series
Ajinkya Rahane is not the most convincing of batsmen in the limited-overs formatsPunit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

Rahane, despite now very much being a veteran in the international game, has struggled to establish himself in coloured clothing. Too many times he has looked a little out of his depth when the colour of the ball has turned from red to white.

The few times that Rahane has looked good for India in limited-overs cricket has been when he has opened the innings for India. When he comes down the order, he seems to struggle to rotate the strike enough, which then leads to him putting too much pressure on his partner at the other end.

When Rahane opens the innings, though, with just two men allowed outside the 30-yard circle, he seems to get into his groove a lot better, and once he starts finding his timing and gets that bat of his working well, he turns into a really solid one-day batsman.

Ajinkya Rahane ODI career: Innings: 71. Runs: 2237. Average: 32.42. Highest: 111. 50s: 16. 100s: 2. Strike rate: 78.85.


Rishabh Pant List A career: Innings: 11. Runs: 227. Average: 20.63. Highest: 99. 50s: 1. 100s: 0. Strike rate: 91.53.

Assuming Dhawan won't be rested, the decision for Virat Kohli – it will only be Kohli for now, what with India currently having no head coach after Anil Kumble stepped down in unfortunate circumstances – to make will be if Rahane or Pant will partner Dhawan up front.

Considering Dhawan is a left-hander, and a right and left-hand combination is always tricky for the new ball bowlers, Rahane might just get the nod.

What Pant, who is yet to play a one-day international for India, needs to do is convince Kohli that he is ready for international cricket; ready to give India a fast start and that early momentum they sometimes lack. And if and when he is given an opportunity, Pant, who doesn't have the greatest of List A records, needs to make sure he grabs it with both hands, makes a big impact and puts the selectors, captain and future coach in a position where he cannot be ignored.