Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar wants team management to rest MS Dhoni from the upcoming five-match ODI series against Australia and give Rishabh Pant a long run keeping World Cup in mind. Gavaskar also stated that he would like to see Pant at No.4 and 5 rather than coming down the order to hit sixes and fours.

When asked if he would like to see Dinesh Karthik’s as MS Dhoni’s back-up option in the World Cup squad, Gavaskar said, “I would also keep Rishabh Pant. He brings that left-handedness in the top lineup as well. And I would look at playing him in the team. I will look to play him in the five one-dayers that India plays against Australia in about two weeks time. That will give us a fair idea about how the young kid is shaping up and give him some little more responsibility at say 4 or 5 because at No.6 or 7 he just going to bang…bang and blast it around and that is not what you want to see. What we want to see is may be something like what happened today, three wickets down with not too many and then he comes in and looks to play the ones and the twos, settle down and then hit the big shots to score 70 or 80 or even a hundred. That left-handed option in the middle order is very crucial. All I am saying, take a punt with Rishabh Pant.”

Pant has been part of 3 ODIs so far and has scored just 42 runs in two innings. Gavaskar also backed Karthik as the third opener for India in the World Cup.

“The left-handed option in the middle order I think is very crucial. I would look at Dinesh Karthik as the third opener because you want to carry a spare opener in your 15 anyway. Even if you have three wicket-keepers in your squad, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, and Rishabh Pant, so be it. I think it will give the team just a little flexibility with the batting,” he added further.

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