World T20 on captain’s mind

Virat Kohli said time has come for Rishabh Pant to “unleash” his rich potential in all three formats.

Lauderhill: India’s preparation for the next year’s T20 World Cup has began with the three-match series against the West Indies, skipper Virat Kohli said.

“Yes, our preparation for the T20 World Cup begins now. We have about 25-26 games before that and we need to figure out our best 11 and best 15 based on the conditions. It is a good opportunity for the youngsters to cement their place,” said Kohli.

While the likes of Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer have made a comeback to the side, Rahul Chahar and Navdeep Saini are in line to make their India debut. The T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15.

The last edition was held in India where the hosts were defeated in the semifinals. India are set to play three-match series against South Africa (September), Bangladesh (November), West Indies (December) and Zimbabwe (January 2020) at home.

Focus on Pant

Kohli said time has come for Rishabh Pant to “unleash” his rich potential in all three formats.

With little clarity over the future of veteran M S Dhoni, Pant has now become the preferred choice in all three formats and that was pointed out by chief selector MSK Prasad after the selection panel picked the squads for the West Indies tour.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone like Rishabh Pant to really play a lot of international cricket, show his credentials, really unleash his potential at this stage,” Kohli said.

“We know how much ability he has and we all want him to become a consistent performer for the Indian cricket team. MS Dhoni’s experience is always going to be a very crucial factor but having said that some of these younger guys have a great opportunity ahead of them and they should just look forward to it.”

The skipper is yet to get over the World Cup loss. “The first few days after we exited the World Cup were quite difficult. Till the time the tournament got over, every time we woke up it was the worst feeling in the morning. Then through the day you do things and sort of get on with your life. We are professionals. We move ahead. Every team has to move on.”

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