While MS Dhoni’s international cricket future might remain shrouded in mystery at the moment, young Rishabh Pant is not thinking of filling the boots of India‘s veteran wicketkeeper just yet.
Pant has been named as India’s wicketkeeper for all three formats for the upcoming full tour of the West Indies with Dhoni making himself unavailable. India chief selector MSK had stated at the time of the squad announcement that Pant was being groomed to take the role long-term in limited-overs cricket.
“He (Dhoni) is unavailable for the series. He has expressed his unavailability. Having said that we had a certain roadmap and plans till the World Cup,” Prasad had stated.
“Post World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Rishabh Pant and to see he is groomed. That is our plan right now and we did discuss this with him (Dhoni),”
The youngster, however, is remaining grounded for now and looking to focus on his own game.
“I know those are big shoes to fill, but if I start thinking about it there will be a problem,” Pant told Hindustan Times in an interview.
“Right now, I am not thinking about what people say. I am just focusing on what I have to do. I just want to do well for my country.
“That’s the only thing I am focusing on. I take the challenge positively. Now I have to see what I can learn, and what I can do to improve.”
India’s No4 batting spot has long been an issue for long with no batsman being able to make that position his own over the last few years. Pant had some decent outings for India at No4 in the recent World Cup and the wicketkeeper batsman has revealed that he has been practising for the role.
“I loved batting at No. 4. It was nothing new for me as I have played at No. 4 before, like in the IPL. I had been practising for the same role,” he said.
Pant will be now hoping to impress further in the tour of West Indies which gets underway on August 3 with the first T20I at Florida, United States. India are slated to play three T20s, three ODIs and two Tests as part of their tour of the Caribbean.
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Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has signed up with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots for the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Hafeez has joined the side as a replacement for South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen who has made himself unavailable for the tournament due to his international commitments.
This will be the second stint with the Patriots for the Pakistan man who was also part of their squad in 2017 when they finished runners-up to Trinbago Knight Riders.
“I really enjoyed my time with the Patriots in 2017 and was very pleased to be asked to join them for the 2019 season,” Hafeez said in a statement.
“The CPL is a competition which has got better every single year and it is great to be involved again after a season off.
“The Patriots have a really strong squad this year and I am really looking forward to joining up with the rest of the boys.”
The signing of the experienced Pakistan all-rounder was welcomed by Robin Singh, the director of cricket for the Patriots.
“We are delighted to have someone with so much experience in T20 cricket joining our squad for the 2019 season,” Robin Singh stated.
“Hafeez is a fantastic player who has had experience of cricket all over the world. We are certain that he will be a huge success at this year’s event, and we are really looking forward to him joining us at our training camp ahead of the competition.”
Hafeez is currently due to represent Edmonton Royals in the second edition of the Global T20 Canada. The 2019 edition of the CPL is slated to run from September 4 to October 12.
39-year-old Hafeez represented Pakistan in the recent 2019 World Cup in England and the all-rounder is yet to indicate any plans of retiring anytime soon. Hafeez has so far played 55 Tests, 218 ODIs and 89 T20Is for Pakistan since making his international debut in 2003.
All eyes at Colombo will be on Lasith Malinga as hosts Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh in the first of the three ODIs scheduled between the two subcontinent sides.
The veteran pacer is playing his final ODI for Sri Lanka after a 15-year career that has seen him pick up 335 wickets in 225 appearances.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, are led by opener Tamim Iqbal after skipper Mashrafe Mortaza pulled out on the eve of the tour with a hamstring injury.
Will Malinga get a dream farewell at the R Premadasa stadium or will Bangladesh spoil the Sri Lanka icon’s party? Find out by following the ball-by-ball action from Colombo below.