After the hugely successful trip of Australia and New Zealand, the next focus for the Indian team and the selectors is picking the squad for the upcoming World Cup. Yes, India ticked many boxes in the ODI series in the two countries, but there are plenty of places up for grabs.
The position of Rishabh Pant in the Indian side is hugely debated and chief selector MSK Prasad concedes that the young man is very much in contention for the World Cup.
"Undoubtedly, he (Pant) is in contention," Prasad told ESPNCricinfo. "A healthy headache. The progression of Rishabh in the last one year is phenomenal across the formats. What we actually felt is he needs a bit of maturity now, gain more experience. That is the reason we have included him in India A series wherever possible," he added.
Role of Vijay Shankar and Ajinkya Rahane
Pant has not played very many ODI games for India, but his prolific form in Test cricket bodes well for him. However, India already have MS Dhoni as the first-choice keeper and with Dinesh Karthik settling down in the finisher's role, the position of Pant looks vulnerable.
And then there is the jeopardy around the position of KL Rahul which throws open another slot open and the chief selector has identified Vijay Shankar, Ajinkya Rahane, and even Pant to be included as a specialist batsman.
"In whatever opportunities he has got, Vijay Shankar has shown the skillsets required at this level. We have been grooming him through India A tours in the last two years. But we will have to see where he can fit in the dynamics of this team," he added.
Rahane has been out of India's limited-overs ambitions for some time now, but away from the spotlight, he has scored 597 runs in 11 innings at an average of 74.62 with two big hundreds and three fifties. However, his strike rate is hovering around 77, but Prasad believes he is in contention for the World Cup too as the third opener for the World Cup.