Southampton, June 19: It was perhaps written in the stars. Destiny has overruled the selectors' decision and granted Rishabh Pant the opportunity to play his maiden World Cup.
One of the most exciting young players to emerge in recent years, Pant has given ample glimpses of his talent right from the days when he used to ply his trade at the age group levels.
The talented left-hander was left out of the Indian squad that travelled to the UK for the World Cup as the selectors felt that he was not experienced enough yet and instead preferred the experience and steady batting style of Dinesh Karthick.
That decision was criticised by several former players, including none other than legends and one-time bitter on-field rivals Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting.
Both batting greats are now mentor and coach respectively of the Delhi Daredevils and had strenously advocated Pant's case for a World Cup spot.
Now that destiny has given Pant the chance to play his first World Cup this year itself, he will no doubt want to grab the opportunity with both hands.
The Delhi lad has experienced several highs and lows over the course of his fledgling career.
He first came into the limelight after his exploits for India at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. His 24-ball 75 against Nepal - the fastest half-century of the tournament - was one of the standout highlights of that World Cup.
He followed that up with a century against Namibia in the next match.
His heroics with the bat earned him a spot in the Delhi Daredevils squad. He also earned a permanent spot in the Delhi team and was named as the captain of the state team in the 50-over format.
He will now be contending for a place in the playing XI against Afghanistan against the likes of Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Shankar.
His batting style is more suited for Twenty20 cricket rather than the longer formats of the game. However, he can be of value when the team needs to perk up the run rate or for pinch hitting duties during the slog overs.
Pant has the talent and the potential. It is now up to the Indian team management to devise strategies and tactics which will utilise the talent at their disposal to the fullest extent.
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