File photo of Rishabh Pant in action in white ball cricket for India© AFP
India’s wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant has gone through a lot of trials and tribulations in his relatively young career in international cricket. Identified early as a someone who might be the long term replacement for MS Dhoni in the Indian team set-up, Rishabh did well to make the transition from age group cricket the international scene. But his attacking batting style meant he failed to fire on several occasions and that led to heavy criticism.
But the Indian team management persisted with Pant and he came into his own in Test cricket, playing some match-winning knocks, the most important of them all coming at Brisbane in January 2021 as India completed a historic second straight Test series win on Australian soil.
Pant has been a regular in the Indian Test team since. But his performances in the limited overs formats for India have not been as eye catching as it has been in Tests.
Pant bats in the middle-order and he often has to play the aggressor’s role late in the innings. But there are also times when he has to bat in the middle overs and build the innings. This goes against his natural attacking nature as a batter and former India opener Virender Sehwag feels that Pant can be a bigger asset for India in limited overs cricket if he opens the batting for the team.
“We don’t play limited-overs to score 50 or 100 but to score at a brisk pace, no matter the situation or the opposition,” points Sehwag, “At no. 4 or 5, he will find himself in situations that demand greater responsibility, but if he opens, he will be far more successful,” Sehwag said on Sports18’s show Home of Heroes.
Sehwag himself started his journey in international cricket as a middle-order batter, before being promoted to open the innings and the rest as they say is history. Something similar happened to India’s batting talisman Sachin Tendulkar, who came into his own in one-day internationals after he was given the opportunity to open the batting.
Pant has scored 715 runs in 24 ODIs and 683 runs in 43 T20Is for India.
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