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Make Rishabh Pant bat at No. 4 or 5 against Australia: Gavaskar

NEW DELHI: Pointing out that having a left-handed batsman in the squad for the World Cup is 'rather crucial', cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar mentioned India will have to field Rishabh Pant in the house ODI collection in opposition to Australia (March 2-13) and make him bat at the next position in the center order to peer how the explosive batsman-wicketkeeper is shaping up. The former India captain additionally batted for the inclusion of Dinesh Karthik as a 'spare opener'.

"I would look at Rishabh Pant because he brings the left-handedness into the top line-up. I would look at Rishabh playing in the 5 ODIs against Australia, because that will give a fair idea on how the young kid is shaping up with giving him a little more responsibility at No. 4 or 5," Gavaskar mentioned.

"The left-handed option in the middle order I think is very crucial. I would look at Dinesh Karthik as 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."

Gavaskar additionally feels that in the tournament of a toss-up between all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Shankar for the World Cup, to be held in England and Wales, the latter could be included. "It's going to be between Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja in the squad for the World Cup, and looking at where the tournament is being held, I think it may be Vijay Shankar."

Gavaskar additionally favoured picking both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the World Cup squad. "If I am playing Pakistan I will go with Yuzvendra Chahal, if you are playing with Australia, England and South Africa I will go with Kuldeep Yadav, because somewhere they do not read Kuldeep. I'll have both in my squad and pick accordingly because I do believe England, South Africa and Australia perhaps not pick Kuldeep Yadav as much as they would be able to pick a little bit of Yuzendra Chahal."

The former opener mentioned he would prefer India having three seamers in the squad - Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. "If I am looking for balance amongst the seamers, I would say no I am not looking for a fourth seamer in the team. The way it's going with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, the fourth seamer is not coming to the party yet. I will go with three, I would say Hardik (Pandya) comes as the fourth seamer and again Vijay Shankar can come in as batsman who can bowl a little bit, so I think it gives the team a little bit of balance."

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