Rishabh Pant deserves a spot in the World Cup team, says Kris Srikkanth

Former India opener Kris Srikkanth said that young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant should be picked in the Indian squad for the upcoming World Cup.

Former cricketer Kapil Dev, Kris Srikkanth, Roger Binny, and Syed Kirmani during the Britannia World Cup promotion in Bengaluru on Tuesday.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Rishabh Pant deserves a spot in the Indian World Cup team, believes Kris Srikkanth.

"The only slot that is slightly confusing is the No.4 slot. If I was the captain or the chairman of selectors, I'd go for a match-winner. A guy who can win matches from no-win situations.

We need such cricketers also. You cannot have only safe cricketers," the former India opener said here on Tuesday, at the launch of the 'Britannia Khao World Cup Jao' advertising campaign.

"While Dhoni will be the wicket-keeper, I still believe that Rishabh Pant is a good cricketer. He's the guy who almost won a Test match for you in England from an amazing no-win situation. You need to encourage him and say, 'You play your game.' Give him that confidence. He'll win three matches on his own," Srikkanth added.

Kapil Dev, meanwhile, felt Pant had to mature as a player, and dismissed the debate around the No.4 slot.

"Dhoni has set the standard very high. Yes, Pant has the ability but he has a long way to go. There's a lot of talk about that No.4 slot. But you have to look at the situation. The need of the hour is what matters.

Don't affix numbers to players. You can send anybody anywhere, they're all good enough. Don't get confused. Play like a team. don't try to say, 'That's his number'. The number depends on the situation of the match," he said.

Asked to name his favourite all-rounder among active cricketers, Kapil chose M.S. Dhoni.

"Are only bowling all-rounders, and fast bowling all-rounders considered all-rounders? I would consider wicket-keepers also. For me Dhoni comes in very high," he said.

The 60-year-old added: "R. Ashwin in Test cricket is a fabulous all-rounder. Ravindra Jadeja can bat but he doesn't know he can bat. You don't know your own strength sometimes. He has scored two triple hundreds in first class cricket.

If he puts his head to it he can become a very good all-rounder. I would say Ben Stokes stands above everyone else as an all-rounder. There are many who look like all-rounders only in T20 cricket but I rate Stokes very highly."