Lauderhill: Indian skipper Virat Kohli emphasized the importance of having a player like MS Dhoni in the squad. However, Kohli insisted that Dhoni's absence from the West Indies tour has bestowed Rishabh Pant an opportunity to show his calibre.
Speaking to the press on the eve of the first T20I between West Indies and India in Florida, Kohli said the team wants Pant to prove his credentials and become a consistent performer for the team.
In the absence of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, Pant is expected to helm the team's lower-middle order against West Indies. While Hardik Pandya was rested for the tour, Dhoni has taken a 2-month leave following the World Cup and is training with the Indian Army in the Kashmir Valley.
Skipper Kohli stressed that youngsters in the team have a great opportunity to prove themselves and claim for spots in the limited-overs squad. Kohli also added that players like Pant are looking forward to such opportunities.
"His [MS Dhoni] experience has always been a crucial factor for us. Having said that, it's a great opportunity for someone like Rishabh Pant to play a lot of international cricket and show his credential... unleash his potential. We know how much ability he has and we all want him to be a consistent performer for the Indian cricket team. Dhoni's experience is always going to be a crucial factor but having said that some of these youngsters have a good opportunity. Rishabh is looking forward to this opportunity as well," Virat Kohli said.
"It's a great opportunity for the guy stepping in to deliver what they need for the team and really cement their spots. Not having the two finishers... Hardik and MS Dhoni... is different from what we are used to but it also presents an opportunity for the guys coming in to show what they are," added Kohli....