‘If he’s still in dugout for last 8-9 overs…’: Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid receive ‘game-changer’ solution for T20 WC

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By 5mustsee.com

India’s opening strategy has a new challenge to address concerning team composition, focusing on Rishabh Pant. Following his explosive half-century against Bangladesh during the T20 World Cup warm-up game, calls for Pant to bat at No. 3 for India have gained momentum. Pant showcased a quick 53 off 32 balls before retiring out as India defeated Bangladesh by 60 runs. The question arises whether this performance is strong enough to displace either Suryakumar Yadav or even Virat Kohli from the crucial No. 3 spot.

Will Rohit Sharma listen?(ANI)
Will Rohit Sharma listen?(ANI)

Former India opener WV Raman suggests that Pant might be better suited to bat at No. 5 or 6, leaving top-order positions for the likes of Kohli and SKY. With the possibility of Kohli opening alongside captain Rohit Sharma, the idea of Pant at 3 is appealing. However, Raman believes that India could benefit more by keeping Pant in reserve and deploying him strategically.

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“Not much should be read into a warm-up game, as sending him at No.3 was maybe about giving him more game time. If he explodes in the last five-six overs along with players like Hardik, (Ravindra) Jadeja or even an Axar Patel, that can really be the game-changer. Suppose in a game, India still have Rishabh at the dugout for the last eight-nine overs, it will surely keep the opposition under pressure,” Raman told The Telegraph.

Rishabh Pant’s numbers at various batting positions

Pant has played most T20Is for India batting at No. 4, accumulating 474 runs from that position with two half-centuries. At No. 5, he has batted 15 times, scoring 297 at a slightly better average of 27 and a best of 52 not out. Pant has opened five times and batted at 3 on just six occasions. If Pant slots in to bat for India, securing the No. 4 spot would be ideal, followed by Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, and Ravindra Jadeja at 5, 6, and 7.

This setup strengthens India’s batting depth and provides versatile bowling options, with all three all-rounders capable of contributing with the ball. The performance in the game between Sri Lanka and South Africa hints at success with this arrangement. While Pant’s T20I stats for India are not exceptional – 865 runs from 30 matches at an average of 34.6 and a strike-rate of 106.65, his recent display in the warm-up game against Bangladesh showcased his potential.

Pant’s impressive form in the IPL cannot be overlooked. After returning from a serious accident, he emerged as the 12th highest run-scorer in the tournament. In 13 matches for Delhi Capitals, Pant amassed 466 runs with three half-centuries, boasting a highest score of unbeaten 88. With one suspension short of crossing the 500-run mark, this season ranked as Pant’s third-best in the IPL, following his 684 runs in 2018 and 488 in 2019.

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