Former head coach Ravi Shastri has backed Rishabh Pant to be in India’s playing XI for the all-important semi-final clash against England. The Men in Blue will lock horns with England at the Adelaide Oval in their top-four clash on Thursday, November 10.
Incidentally, Pant was given an opportunity ahead of the knockout stages but the young wicketkeeper-batter failed to make use of it, scoring just three runs against Zimbabwe. The wicketkeeper-batter tried to take on Sean Williams but holed out to Ryan Burl in the deep midwicket boundary.
Speaking after India’s win over Zimbabwe in their final Super 12 match, Ravi Shastri said Rishabh Pant’s presence in the XI will help India counter the variety in England’s bowling unit, especially in Adelaide which has short square boundaries.
“Dinesh is a lovely team player. But when it comes to a game against England or New Zealand, just seeing their attack, I think you need a robust left-hander, who can turn it on and a match-winner and a left-hander,” Shastri said.
“He has done well against England. He recently won a match on his win against England, a one-day game. I would go with Pant, not just because he played here, but because of the X-factor angle, he can bring to the semi-final. You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack,” he added.
“You need a left-hander in your team” – Ravi Shastri on Rishabh Pant
Ravi Shastri, who has seen Rishabh Pant from close quarters, knows how dangerous he can be when he gets going. Hence, the cricketer-turned-commentator stressed that it is important to have a left-handed, who can win matches in the final overs.
“If you have too many right-handers, there is a sense of sameness to it. England have a nice attack, a varied attack of left-handers and right-handers. You need a left-hander in your team, who can be dangerous and win you a game in the back overs even if you have lost 3 or 4 wickets at the top,” Shastri concluded.
Dinesh Karthik was tipped to play the finisher’s role in T20 World Cup 2022 after he shone lower down the order in the lead-up to the mega tournament in Australia. However, Karthik has not been able to live up to expectations, managing 14 runs across 4 matches.