NOTTINGHAM, June 12: Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was on Wednesday brought in as cover for the injured Shikhar Dhawan in India’s World Cup squad but won’t get access to the dressing room till the time the senior opener is not completely ruled out.
Pant, whose omission from the original squad became a topic of heated debates given his stupendous form in the past one year, will join the side in Manchester ahead of the marquee clash against Pakistan on Sunday.
“Rishabh Pant is being flown in from India as cover at the request of the team management,” a senior BCCI official currently in England told PTI.
He won’t be considered a replacement till the time the team management takes a final call on Dhawan’s availability for the rest of the tournament.
The 21-year-old is one of the most exciting players to have emerged in Indian cricket. He impressed with Test hundreds during the tours of England and Australia earlier and was in fine form during the IPL last month.
It was learnt from BCCI sources that just like Dhawal Kulkarni in the 2015 World Cup, Pant will not officially be a part of the squad and won’t have dressing room access on match days.
“He will arrive before the Pakistan game in Manchester. So he won’t make it here but he will be there in Manchester. Since he is not a part of the squad, he will be travelling separately with Khaleel Ahmed,” a source told PTI.
“He won’t have dressing room access on match days. Only the selected players can travel in team bus and have dressing room access as per ICC’s Anti Corruption rules,” he added.
Several former players such as Sunil Gavaskar have advocated his inclusion in the squad if Dhawan fails to recover quickly enough for India.
Dhawan has been ruled out of three matches due to a hairline fracture on his left thumb which he sustained during his match-winning hundred in the clash against Australia on Sunday.
“Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored,” the Indian team said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb,” it added. – PTI