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Gavaskar's Bold Choice: Rishabh Pant as the Front-Runner for T20 World Cup, Even on One Leg

In the realm of cricket, as Team India gears up for the upcoming T20 World Cup, the pivotal question of who will fill the wicketkeeper's role has sparked a three-way competition among players. Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary cricketer, believes that the battle to secure this position will intensify between three key players. This speculation comes on the heels of Team India preparing for their next limited-overs series against Afghanistan after the South Africa tour.

The return of Captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to the T20 squad, along with the Think Tank's strategic decisions, has provided relief to some big names, allowing young talents to get a chance. As India approaches its last T20 series before the T20 World Cup scheduled for June, all eyes are on the wicketkeeper's slot. Amid these deliberations, Gavaskar has unequivocally declared Rishabh Pant as his top choice for the wicketkeeper position. Despite Pant's serious injuries in 2022, there is optimism about his comeback for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 with the Delhi Capitals.

Gavaskar's endorsement of Pant comes with a bold statement, "If Rishabh Pant can stand even on one leg, he should be in the team because he is a game-changer in every format." This resounding endorsement speaks volumes about Pant's impact on the game and his ability to turn the tables even in challenging circumstances. Pant's journey through 2022 was marred by a significant and unfortunate accident, resulting in several serious injuries.

However, the hope of his return for the IPL 2024 has ignited anticipation for his potential inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad. While Gavaskar acknowledges KL Rahul's capability as a wicketkeeper-batsman, he emphasizes Pant's prowess as a match-winner. Gavaskar envisions Pant as a player who can bring a dynamic shift to the team, showcasing his versatility across different formats. The cricketing maestro suggests that Pant's inclusion should be the top priority, considering his ability to single-handedly change the course of a game. He points out that even if Pant is available for limited periods, his presence can make a significant impact on the team's performance.

Gavaskar's remarks raise an interesting proposition for the selectors, urging them to consider Pant not just as a wicketkeeper but as a potential game-changer in various roles. He suggests that if Pant is unavailable, KL Rahul can take up the wicketkeeping duties, ensuring a balanced team composition. In the ever-evolving landscape of cricket, the competition for spots remains intense.

With Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Jitesh Sharma in contention, Gavaskar acknowledges the healthy competition among these talented players. As for the wicketkeeping debate, Gavaskar downplays IPL 2024 session's potential impact on India's T20 World Cup wicketkeeper selection. He asserts that Jitesh Sharma, while being a notable player, hasn't been excluded from the race, recognising the impressive skills of the young and impactful wicketkeeper-batsman. Gavaskar's perspective adds an intriguing layer to the ongoing debate about India's wicketkeeper for the T20 World Cup.

While Pant's selection might be contingent on his fitness, the endorsement from a cricketing legend amplifies the anticipation surrounding his potential comeback. The selectors now face the challenging task of making a decision that aligns with the team's dynamics and maximises their chances of T20 World Cup glory.

Edited by: Jonathan Nwabenu

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