Rishabh Pant isn’t fit to play the upcoming World Cup but former Australian ace Adam Gilchrist is still fascinated by the kind of impact that the burly keeper-batter has had in his six years with the Indian team. Pant, who met with a horrific car accident last December, is currently doing his rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and is expected to make a comeback sometime next year. In his absence, KL Rahul will keep wickets for India and Ishan Kishan has a good chance of playing as a specialist middle-order batter.

“I think Rishabh has inspired a lot of wicket-keeper batters around the world to play that way (he does). It is fascinating for such a young man to have such an impact that Rishabh has had and others are responding and playing in that positive manner,” Gilchrist, who is in India on a promotional visit, told PTI.

Gilchrist was impressed how Kishan has shaped up despite knowing that Rahul will be the first keeper.

“They (India) are well stocked. They have got a couple of options there, obviously when KL was out with his injury, Ishan Kishan took his opportunity and played really well and now they find themselves in the team together so that’s a wonderful case of taking an opportunity,” said the man who won three World Cups for Australia.

What Gilchrist found laudable was Kishan’s ability to force the selectors to keep him in the mix with consistent performances.

“Being positive and then and forcing the selectors into keeping you in the team so it seems like KL is gonna be the one who is going to continue with the gloves but it does not seem to hinder Ishan Kishan’s batting, he seems to be playing really well, carefree, attacking and dangerous,” he explained.

The man, who played nearly 400 international games across three formats, with 15,000 plus runs and over 900 dismissals (catches and stumpings), however had straight forward choices as far as four potential semi-finalists were concerned.

“I think India and Pakistan could feature in the semi-finals, Australia and England are another two teams,” opined Gilchrist.

Gilchrist is hopeful that five-time champions will do well in India, where they won a bilateral series 3-0 last time around.

“Australia will learn a lot from their efforts in South Africa when they come to India, they have got three games before the World Cup against India so they will have a bit more of a full strength squad there so that might tell us a bit about where they are at so its a bit hard who’s gonna win it (World Cup) but I think there is probably four semi-finalists there.” Adam Zampa recently was taken to cleaners by Heinrich Klaasen during an ODI in South Africa, having gone for 113 and 70 in his quota of overs. But Gilchrist has full faith in Zampa’s quality and ability to bounce back.

“Adam Zampa, obviously in South Africa was at the receiving end a little bit but it’s different conditions out here in India with different pitches and he is a world-class spin bowler and he has shown that particularly across T20 cricket and now he gets his chance in the 50 over World Cup,” Gilchrist said.

Australia will bank on their experienced players.

“So its a very knowledgeable group and they are going to use and they are going to have to use all that experience against batting line ups now across the globe and play without fear, so that is a challenge for all the bowlers on how to take on aggressive batting line ups.” There has been some suggestions about pushing veteran David Warner down the order but someone, who was a mega successful opener in the shorter formats, feels a move like that could well back-fire.

“He (Warner) looked really good in South Africa for the most part of what he did, I think he has got to bat at the top, there has been some sort of discussions that he bats down the middle order but I think he has got to open,” he then gave his rationale.

“…and he (Warner) showed in South Africa a couple of times that he is aggressive and dominant at the top of the order as he has ever been so I think they bring with him a lot of experience and a lot of confidence and I think he should play at the top of the order for Australia and if he plays really well then our opposition will fear that.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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