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Yuvraj Singh predicted Rishabh Pant’s future a week before his World Cup selection, will it come true?

It would be an over exaggeration to say that Yuvraj had predicted Pant’s inclusion in India’s World Cup squad but the recently retired left-hander did give a clear insight about Pant’s future in India colours.

cricket Updated: Jun 20, 2019 14:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ICC world cup 2019,India world cup squad,rishabh pant world cup
Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh speaks during a news conference to announce his retirement from international cricket, in Mumbai on June 10, 2019. - Singh, a winner of two World Cup titles who overcame cancer and a drop in form to fight his way back into India's national side, announced on June 10 that he is retiring from cricket. "It was a great roller coaster ride and beautiful story but it has to come to an end. It was the right time to go," the 37-year-old left-hand batsman told a press conference in Mumbai. (Photo by STR / AFP)(AFP)

A few hours after announcing his retirement and a day before Rishabh Pant was sent to England as Shikhar Dhawan’s cover, Yuvraj Singh had named Pant as his successor in the Indian limited overs side. As fate would have it, Pant finally became a part of India’s World Cup squad after being named as an official replacement of Dhawan on Wednesday.

Dhawan, who was in a race against time to regain fitness for the latter half of the World Cup, was ruled out of the tournament after medical reports confirmed a fracture on his left thumb.

Also Read: Dhawan post emotional message for fans after being ruled out of World Cup

Despite keeping their hopes pinned on Dhawan, India were somewhat prepared for the inevitable and hence Pant was asked to fly to England as a cover hours after the seriousness of Dhawan’s injury came to fore on June 11.

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It would be an over exaggeration to say that Yuvraj had predicted Pant’s inclusion in India’s World Cup squad but the recently retired left-hander did give a clear insight about Pant’s future in India colours.

“Rishabh Pant has the potential to be better than me. And he has proven himself in a short span of time,” Yuvraj had said moments after announcing his retirement on June 10.

“He scored two test hundreds away - in Australia and England. He has a lot of potential. He has it in him to be a very attacking and match winning left hander. I am really looking forward to seeing him in the next few years,” said Yuvraj.

Also Read: McGrath makes bold statement on Dhoni’s future in Team India

The next day, Yuvraj went a step ahead by stating that he will make sure that Pant achieves more than him by keeping an eye on the youngster.

“I will make sure that you achieve more than me, and I’ll be keeping a check on you ,” Yuvraj tweeted.

Hours later, Pant was given an SOS call to fly to England and on Wednesday he was officially drafted into the Indian side.

Notably, Yuvraj was the Man of the tournament in India’s World Cup triumph in 2011, playing a crucial role with both bat and ball. Pant too has been named in the squad for that No. 4 spot, which Yuvraj had made his own for a long period of time, particularly in 2011 World Cup.

Pant’s inclusion in the Indian side does not, however, guarantee him a place in the XI. India’s batting line-up by the look of things looks settled with both KL Rahul and Vijay Shankar performing well in the last game against Pakistan. But going by the urgency with which Pant was drafted into the side, it goes without saying that he is certain to get a chance in India’s next two matches, which are against relatively easier opponents – Afghanistan and West Indies.

There is also no certainty of Pant’s batting order in the Indian side. While it is likely that he will bat at No. 4 if he gets an opportunity, some reports are also doing the rounds of him being considered an opening option with Rohit Sharma.

Only time will provide answers to all this but one thing is certain that when Pant takes the field, among many, Yuvraj Singh will perhaps be the one who will watch the 21-year-old with the keenest interest.

First Published: Jun 20, 2019 09:01 IST