June 30, 2019 / 9:30 AM / 3 months ago

Cricket-India hand Pant debut, Roy returns for England

BIRMINGHAM, England, June 30 (Reuters) - Rishabh Pant was handed his World Cup debut on Sunday after being named in the India team to face an England side who welcomed back opener Jason Roy for a contest crucial to their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Pant, a member of the test side that won a series in Australia over the New Year, flew in to join the squad two weeks ago as replacement for Shikhar Dhawan after the opener fractured his hand.

Known for his six-hitting prowess, the 21-year-old left-handed batsman will bat at number four in place of all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who failed to nail down the spot over three World Cup outings.

England, who need to win their last two group matches against India and New Zealand to qualify for the semi-finals without relying on other results, received a boost with Roy returning from a hamstring injury.

The 28-year-old replaced James Vince and will open with Jonny Bairstow, while paceman Liam Plunkett came into the side for Moeen Ali.

Eoin Morgan’s men will also have the service of Jofra Archer despite the quick nursing a side strain and undertaking only light net sessions on Saturday.

Morgan won the toss and elected to bat under a slightly overcast Birmingham sky. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Birmingham; editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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