Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who led his side to World Cup finals in the 2003 World Cup, has spoken out on the issue of who should replace Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian team. According to Dada, the obvious answer is Rishabh Pant.
In a Facebook live conversation with Irish cricketer Niall O' Brian for the official Cricket World Cup site, where he took questions from the viewers, the former India skipper said, when asked for his thoughts on Rishabh Pant: "He is special. Absolutely special, a match winner and it's only a matter of time. I am told that Shikhar Dhawan is unfortunately injured, he has got a broken thumb so I see him as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan."
This is not the first time that Ganguly has shown great admiration for Pant and has backed him as a player. Having been associated with the Delhi Capitals team, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise which the young wicketkeeper batsman plays for, he was able to observe Pant closely and possibly, even work with him. Even when the squad for the World Cup was announced and Pant's name wasn't included in it, the 'Prince of Kolkata' had expressed disappointment and support for the Delhi player.
The selectors have decided to choose Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant for the position of the reserve keeper. Pant has started his career in Tests on a very positive note with hundreds against Australia and England, that too in their own backyards. However, his performance in the ODI series against Australia before the World Cup wasn't very impressive. At the same time, due to his experience and better keeping skills as well, Karthik was a safe bet.
Not only was Pant unable to get a big score against Australia in the home ODIs, his keeping was also well below par and he missed some vital chances behind the stumps. But considering the great support from former players including Ganguly and Ricky Ponting, coach of Delhi Capitals, the young lad may well end up making his World Cup debut.