Former India player Wasim Jaffer feels wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is best suited to open the innings in the shortest format of the game. With the Test series against England done and dusted, the Men in Blue will now shift focus on the white-ball leg, which starts with the three-match T20I series on July 7 (Thursday) in Southampton.
With the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 due later this year, the Men in Blue will look to finalise their combination in the next few months, starting with the upcoming England series. The first-choice cricketer, who missed the last two T20I assignments, will return to the side and the management will get a clear idea of their squad.
Ahead of the T20Is against England, Wasim Jaffer proposed a radical idea of opening the innings with Pant and captain Rohit Sharma. He tweeted:
“Indian think tank should think about opening with Rishabh Pant in T20Is. I think that’s the spot where he can blossom. #ENGvIND.”
Indian think tank should think about opening with Rishabh Pant in T20Is. I think that's the spot where he can blossom. #ENGvIND
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) July 6, 2022
Incidentally, Pant has never opened in international cricket. He has batted at No.3 on six occasions, scoring 117 runs at a strike rate of 127.17. He has enjoyed most of his success at No.4 and 5. The left-hander has scored 619 runs in 35 games, including three half-centuries.
While Pant’s stock has grown from strength to strength in red-ball cricket, his numbers are quite underwhelming in the shortest format of the game.
The left-hander has managed only one half-century in the format since 2021, which came against the West Indies earlier this year. He disappointed in his last T20I assignment against South Africa, scoring only 58 runs in five games, with a best score of 29.
With Ishan Kishan and Dinesh Karthik making a strong case for themselves, Pant will have to use the upcoming games against England to cement his berth in the T20 World Cup squad.