West Indies tour a great opportunity for Pant to unleash his potential: Kohli

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CRICKET

The time has come for Rishabh Pant to “unleash” his rich potential in all three formats, said India captain Virat Kohli ahead of the first T20 international against the West Indies here on Saturday.

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 here on Friday.

“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.”

Kohli has already said the tour is a good opportunity for fringe players like Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey to stake a claim for a spot in India’s brittle middle-order in ODIs.

The T20 here on Saturday will be India’s first outing since the heart-breaking loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semifinals last month. The skipper is yet to get over the 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.

“So we are quite okay with what happened in the World Cup. Yesterday the fielding session and the little bit of time we spent on the field was really good. Everyone was excited, looking forward to just playing, just being on the field again. I think that’s the best thing you can do as a team, just get on the park as soon as possible.”