Should Rishabh Pant be Given a Chance: All is going well for team India at the World Cup. India remains the only unbeaten team at the World Cup and with 11 points from 6 games, needs just a point to qualify for the semi-finals. While that doesn’t seem a hard task, India now need to think further and cover the bases that remain somewhat exposed even in these eloquent performances.
India started off magnificently against the South Africans and registered a fighting 6-wicket win, buoyed by Rohit Sharma’s brilliance. Rohit didn’t leave much for other batsmen to do as he scored bulk of the runs in a 228 run chase.
India were then up against the Aussies and this time it was Dhawan’s turn who once again rose to the fore in an ICC event to put India on top. Backed by some fine bowling, India made it 2 in 2.
After a wash out against New Zealand, India were up against arch-rivals Pakistan, a game that has a bigger stature than the World Cup for the fans of the two countries. Shikhar Dhawan was sidelined due to a fractured thumb with KL Rahul being promoted to open the innings with Rohit while Vijay Shankar came in to bat at 4. India were dominant yet again and a wonderful opening partnership helped India take up the total to 336. Though it seemed India could get in excess of 350, a sluggish finishing meant India had to do with 336, which turned out to be more than enough for an inconsistent Pakistan batting line-up.
Fast forward to Afghanistan and the West Indies games, India failed to get the perfect start and struggled a bit with their middle order and finishing to score 224 and 268 in the two games. Though it was enough on the day, it wasn’t a perfect outing for the Indians with the bat.
When wins have been easy to come about, there hasn’t been much talk about the struggle of the middle order and the lack of impactful finishing which have come to the fore in the last couple of games.
While Vijay Shankar didn’t bat at his ideal position against Pakistan and had little time to make a mark, his 29 and 14 in the next two games with ample time to play suggest a potential hole in the Indian line-up. His IPL form wasn’t great either and he struggled against quality bowling.
Dhoni too isn’t at his vintage best and doesn’t score as swiftly as one would expect. There has been a lot of criticism centred around him recently with even Sachin Tendulkar questioning his intent. This leaves a lot of responsibility on Hardik Pandya to provide a swift finish.
With Dhawan gone, India no more is getting off to quick starts and hence, more impetus is needed in the middle and later stages to get to the par total.
What could change? | Should Rishabh Pant be Given a Chance
With the departure of Dhawan, India now has no left-hander in the side which makes life relatively easier for the bowler who doesn’t have to adjust his line as per the batsman. Rishab Pant could be a name that comes to mind instantly- left hander, explosive and could provide India what’s needed to change the dynamics.
As a lot of experts suggested too, Rishab Pant was unlucky in the first place to miss out on a berth for the World Cup and him now not getting a chance might be taking it too far. Experts like Michael Vaughan, Kris Srikkanth have also been vocal about giving Pant a chance.
Rishab Pant !!!!!!!!!!!!! How he doesn’t get in this team I will never know …… #CWC19
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) June 27, 2019
Apart from that Pakistan game where Bhuvaneshwar Kumar had to leave the field owing to an injury, Vijay Shankar hasn’t been given the ball. With the bat, he has been rather disappointing despite getting ample time to play himself in and score big, especially when the team needed, also putting question marks on his ability to handle pressure and if he has been rushed into the side?
Another chance later, if Shankar still fails, Rishab Pant could be a great option for India. MS Dhoni could come in at 4, suiting his style of play and allowing him time to get in and then explode late on. Pant could come in at 5/6 depending on the situation and with Pandya, from a lethal partnership with the bat. Pant has an ability to play pace and spin with equal measure and can accelerate at will.
Another way to look at it might be Pant opening the innings with Rahul moving back to 4. Pant could play freely at the top and look at providing India with brisk starts.
Should Rishabh Pant be Given a Chance: Though Pant doesn’t have the best of records in ODI, he could well be the X-factor.
India’s bowling has been sensational and with Kedar Jadhav, the option of a 6th bowler still remains. If the captain isn’t happy with the options, another option that can be availed is Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja is a left-hander too and no mug with the bat. He can roll his arm over and give India good 10 overs. In addition, Sir Jadeja, as he is often called, is a livewire in the field and can save runs and affect run out’s for the side.
While these may not be looked into immediately and the team management would want to back their preferred choice of Vijay Shankar for at least a game or two, India should definitely be open about trying out other players as these fine margins may go on to affect the fate of the World Cup.