Andhra Pradesh wicket-keeper batsman KS Bharat has been called up to the India ODI squad, as replacement for the injured Rishabh Pant, for the second game of the three-match series against Australia in Rajkot on Friday, 17 January.
Pant was ruled out of the game with a concussion that he sustained during the first ODI, when he top-edged a short ball from Pat Cummins onto his helmet and subsequently took no part in India’s defence of 255. As was the case then, KL Rahul will don the gloves in Rajkot, with Bharat in the squad as back-up, should injury strike Rahul. India also drafted Manish Pandey into their XI, as replacement for Pant.
Bharat’s call-up is understood to have been made as a result of the unavailability of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan, who would have been the likely replacement call-ups, in that order, had they been around. Both wicketkeeper-batsmen are away in New Zealand, as part of the India A team, who are visiting the country for three 50-overs games and two four-dayers.
Bharat, who was in Hyderabad when he was asked to rush to Rajkot, is uncapped at the international level. He is, however, a veteran of 74 first-class matches, in which he has made 4143 runs at an average of 37.66. At the List A level, he has played 51 games that have fetched him 1351 runs at 28.14.
As for Pant, the 22-year-old has been asked to report to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. "The call [to fly in Bharat] was taken after Rishabh Pant flew to Bengaluru to undergo his rehabilitation protocol in the National Cricket Academy," the BCCI said in a release. "The wicket-keeper batsman was hit on the helmet while batting in the 1st ODI in Mumbai and was ruled out of the 2nd ODI in Rajkot.
"His recovery is being monitored by the NCA and a call on his availability for the final ODI in Bengaluru will be taken accordingly."
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