Ishan Kishan still in reckoning for T20 World Cup spot, Pant in discussion too | Cricket

All is not lost for Ishan Kishan. There is light at the end of the tunnel for the young wicketkeeper-batter after all. After beating Afghanistan 3-0 in their last T20I series before the T20 World Cup, India head coach Rahul Dravid made it clear that Kishan is still in the mix for the global event scheduled to take place in the USA and West Indies in June this year. Kishan who was a regular member of the Indian side in all three formats till the South Africa tour suddenly found himself out of the reckoning after he decided to leave the Indian squad and flew to Dubai citing mental fatigue.

Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan(BCCI)

Kishan was not included in India’s squad for the Afghanistan series and reports of a disciplinary action against the left-hander started doing the rounds. When Dravid was asked about the same ahead of the series opener in Indore, the former India captain denied it and said Kishan was not available for selection. The India head coach, however, did not forget to drop a subtle hint for Kishan by saying that he would have to play first-class cricket before being considered for the England series.

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Around the same time, Kishan was seen training with Hardik Pandya, clearly indicating that he was mentally fit enough to play cricket. But whether he made himself unavailable for India selection could not be confirmed. Kishan didn’t play any of the matches for Jharkhand and as it turned out, he was not named in India’s squad for the first two Tests against England despite it having as many as three designated keepers – KL Rahul, KS Bharat, and Dhruv Jurel.

Just when it was looking like, Kishan’s future in the Indian was bleaker than ever, Dravid came up with good news. He said Kishan like Jitesh Sharma, Sanju Samson is in the mix for a berth in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Interestingly, Dravid also named KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant in the list.

“We’ve got quite a few keeping options. We saw a couple of guys in this series, whether it is Sanju, or Jitesh. You speak about Rahul, there is Ishan, Rishabh… all of them are in the mix. We just have to see how things pan out in the course of next few months and then we can take a call what’s the best way to go,” he said after India’s thrilling win in the final T20I in Bengaluru.

Coming to think of it, Kishan, Rahul and Pant are the least favourites. Pant, still nursing the leg injuries, is anyway nowhere near to playing cricket at this level yet. Although there are reports that claim the left-hander might feature in this year’s IPL. If that is true, then he surely would become a strong contender. Where Kishan and Rahul lose out is their batting positions. Both of them bat in the top of the order and India already have three options in captain Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill for that spot.

What India ideally need is someone who can bat below No.5 and score at a quick pace. Even Samson is not the best fit for that role. Perhaps that is why Jitesh started ahead of him in the Afghanistan T20Is and played two matches. If the Vidarbha cricketer has a decent IPL with PBKS, chances are high he would be the first choice.

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