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Pant vs Kishan: Focus on Dhoni's successor in second warm-up match

Source: PTI
January 11, 2017 14:52 IST

All eyes will firmly be on Delhi youngster Rishabh Pant, who has been called up to the Indian squad for the three-match T20 International series against England, in the second warm-up match between India 'A' and the visitors in Mumbai, on Thursday.

Jharkhand's Ishan Kishan, who scored 799 runs in 10 matches in this season's Ranji Trophy with three hundreds and two fifties, will also be another player to watch out for.

Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant in action for Delhi Daredevils during the ninth edition of the IPL in 2016. Photograph: BCCI

The mountain of runs that he has plundered so far in first-class cricket has ensured that the focus will be firmly on Delhi youngster Rishabh Pant as India 'A' take on the visiting England XI, in the second and final warm-up match in Mumbai, on Thursday.

This will be the last practice game before the six-match limited overs series - three ODIs and as many T20Is - which begins with the first ODI in Pune on Sunday.

Pant, who was part of the India Under-19 squad that finished runner-up to the West Indies in the Junior World Cup last year, has impressed one and all with his exploits in recent times.

His 308 against Maharashtra at almost run-a-ball, an innings that contained as many as six sixes and 42 fours, at the beginning of this Ranji Trophy season was followed by another blistering three-figure knock against Jharkhand. The youngster finished the Ranji season with a massive haul of 972 runs in eight matches at an average of 81 and a strike rate of 107 with four hundreds and two fifties, which helped him earn a call-up to the Indian squad for the three-match T20 International series against England.

The pint-sized wicketkeeper, who is seen by many as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's successor, should relish the Brabourne Stadium track that afforded good bounce and on which the ball came on nicely in the first warm-up match on Tuesday, which England won by three wickets.

Ishan Kishan

IMAGE: Ishant Kishan of Gujarat Lions hits over the top during the ninth edition of the IPL in 2016. Photograph: BCCI

But not all the attention will be on Pant as there is a rival to him for the wicketkeeper-batsman's spot in Ishan Kishan of Jharkhand, his team mate in the World Cup Under-19 side and also an attacking batsman like the Delhi player.

The selectors have named Kishan as wicketkeeper for the game.

He also had a good showing in the Ranji Trophy, with an impressive tally of 799 runs in 10 matches at an average of 57, with three hundreds and two fifties.

Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, coming off a long injury-lay off, will play his first game after his rehabilitation and would be eager to hit the straps before the ODI series.

Suresh Raina, who has lost his spot in the ODI team but is a member of the T20 squad, would also be keen to hit the high note.

There are other all-round aspirants like Vijay Shankar, Parvez Rasool and Deepak Hooda, besides experienced batsman Sheldon Jackson in the India 'A' ranks.

The frontline bowling would be handled by senior pacers Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda and Pradeep Sangwan, along with left- arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.

England too would like a game to be given to their main all-rounder Ben Stokes, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and speedster Liam Plunkett who were in the reserves on Tuesday.

Key batsman Joe Root is, however, unlikely to play the game as he is set to join the team only on Thursday after he stayed back in England for the birth of his first child.

Unlike the opening warm-up tie, the second one is a day match and will start at 9am IST.


India 'A': Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rishabh Pant, Suresh Raina, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan (w/k), Sheldon Jackson, Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashok Dinda.

England XI: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (w/k), Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

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