Pant released to play Mushtaq Ali, KS Bharat to join as Saha cover

Pant released to play Mushtaq Ali, KS Bharat to join as Saha cover

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: The Indian selection committee has decided to release Rishabh Pant to get some match time in domestic cricket ahead of the limited-overs series against the West Indies next month. Andhra keeper-batsman Kona Shrikar Bharat will join the Indian team as Wriddhiman Saha’s cover for the remainder of the second and final Test against Bangladesh.

“Rishabh will be playing all the six matches (3 T20s and 3 ODIs) against the West Indies. The selectors though it’s only prudent that he goes and plays in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Delhi,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Bharat, who has been a regular feature for India A in red-ball matches finally got some consolation for his consistent performances during the last two seasons. He has scored 3,909 runs in 69 first-class games with eight hundred and 20 half-centuries which include a triple hundred.

“I played the first pink-ball match in Lucknow when it was introduced in the Duleep Trophy in 2015,” Bharat told PTI on Friday evening as he was on his way to the airport from his Visakhapatnam residence.

“I got a call and was asked to join the team in the morning. I am looking forward to sharing the dressing room with my idol Virat Bhai,” said Bharat, who is likely to get only a couple of days with the match poised to end inside three days. The ICC ruled that came into effect in 2017 says that a substitute keeper can take place of the first team glovesman if he happens to sustain an on-field injury.

However, Wriddhiman Saha is doing perfectly fine at the moment and Bharat’s inclusion is merely a precautionary measure. “Wriddhiman is one of the best wicketkeepers of the current era. I’m hoping to learn a lot from them. Too excited,” Bharat added. PTI`