Why carry Pant only to warm the bench, asks Delhi Capitals co-owner Jindal

Troubled times
Rishabh Pant has been under the scanner for a while due to his inability to convert starts and for erratic work behind the stumps. File photo: AFP
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New Delhi: Parth Jindal, the director of JSW Sports and co-owner of Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals, has questioned the exclusion of Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin from India's limited-over teams.

Describing both of them as "X-factor" players in a series of tweets, Jindal said not playing Pant in the limited-overs leg of the New Zealand series "made no sense" while he failed to understand the "aversion" to a "wicket-taker" like Ashwin.

Pant -- who has been under the scanner for his ordinary wicket-keeping skills and poor batting form -- has not played for India since the first One-Day International (ODI) against Australia in Mumbai when he suffered concussion. K L Rahul kept wickets when India took the field and since then, Pant has been on the bench for all nine of India's limited-overs matches across formats.

In the five Twenty20 International (T20I)s and three ODIs against New Zealand, Pant was not included in the playing XI.

Skipper Virat Kohli has already stated that India now favour Rahul, who has been in rich batting form, as the first-choice wicketkeeper in white-ball cricket as it provides them with the much-needed balance.

Jindal remarked that instead of staying in the reserves during the limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour, Pant should have ideally played for India 'A' against New Zealand 'A'.

He also questioned why the visitors could not find a place for Pant in the final matches of the T20I and ODI series after India and New Zealand had won the respective series by then.

"And why carry Rishabh Pant only for him to warm the bench? Surely he would have benefited from paying against New Zealand A or domestic cricket? To see a player as talented as him not play the 5th T20I and now the 3rd ODI makes no sense," Jindal had tweeted on Wednesday.

While talking about Ashwin -- who will be playing for Capitals in this season of the IPL -- Jindal said: "Don't know why Ravichandran Ashwin is not in this team! There seems to be an aversion to wicket takers! After white washing the kiwis in T20's the Kiwis showing India that the semi final victory in the World Cup was no fluke. India needs wicket takers and players with X factor."

Ashwin, India's premier Test spinner, was one of the biggest trades in the IPL last year after Kings XI Punjab -- whom he had captained in the previous two seasons -- allowed him to shift to the Delhi-based franchise.

The off-spinner last played a T20I against West Indies in July, 2017, while his last ODI appearance came against the Caribbean team a month later.

Since then, India have gone with the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav while banking on Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder.

Jindal's comments are uncommon because IPL team owners usually refrain themselves from making comments on national selection matters and it's mostly the coaches of the franchise who voice their opinions, just like Ricky Ponting did when he questioned India for initially leaving Pant out of the World Cup squad last year.

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