INDvsWI: Kohli back, Pant picked up for first 2 ODIs

Tanya Simon
October 12, 2018

India and West Indies are scheduled to play a five-match ODI series. Virat Kohli is back to lead the side after he missed the Asia Cup 2018 and frontline quick bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's inclusion in India's 14-man squad announced by the BCCI on Thursday for the first two ODIs against West Indies nearly spells doom for the underperforming senior pro Dinesh Karthik.

Dinesh Karthik was left out of the squad to make way for Pant, and allrounders Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya had not yet recovered from their injuries. "I have been telling this for a quite some time that we are just 18 ODIs away from now before we play first game of the World Cup and so we need to figure out our fast bowlers and so we have picked Shami", said Prasad.

Jadhav will come back after the first two ODIs, and Pandya will be fit from the second week of November. He was ruled out in between the Asia Cup after a back injury.

Pant's explosive hitting down the order along with Dhoni's poor run with the bat, might help the 20-year-old force his way into the side when the MSK Prasad-led selection committee sit in Hyderabad to select the squad on Thursday. Raina could have been the flawless No.6 batsman who can take up Jadhav's position for the West Indies series.

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"That's the reason why we have included Khaleel, Shardul [Thakur] and Shami in this squad now", he said.

Pacer Siddharth Kaul, who was called up as an injury replacement during the Asia Cup, was also left out.

It remains to be seen whether Pant gets a place in the starting line-up. The 15-member Indian T20 squad for the WC didn't include senior pacer Shikha Pandey, ODI opener Raut, and wicket-keeper Sushma Verma.

The ODI series against West Indies begins on October 21 in Guwahati before moving to Visakhapatnam on October 24.

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