Former India all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi doesn’t want Rishabh Pant opening the innings in T20Is. According to him, the dangerous left-handed batter can be best utilised in the middle and death overs.
In a surprise move, India opened with Suryakumar Yadav in the first T20I against West Indies recently. Yadav was dismissed for 24 off 16, continuing his run of low scores in international cricket.
Some critics believe India might go back to Pant partnering captain Rohit Sharma at the top in the second T20I on Monday (August 1). Sharing his views on the topic, Sodhi told India News:
“I am not in favour of Rishabh Pant opening. He is India’s pivotal player. India need him when the game gets tight in the 15th-16th over. You can better utilise him in the middle overs. He can take on the spinners and seamers as well.”
Admitting that the left-hander can succeed as an opener, Sodhi explained:
“I am not saying Pant cannot play the new ball, but India have better options for the top order. Ishan Kishan must open in all the four remaining games.”
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma has urged the Indian team management to shun all experiments at the top, as that could hamper their T20 World Cup preparations. He said:
“Rishabh Pant has opened in some recent games. These experiments should end. There has to be some clarity over who India should open with. The team management and selectors need to be on the same page. There is not a lot of time left. We all know what happened with the No.4 slot in 2019 (during the 50-over World Cup). India need to be sure who will be open if KL Rahul is unfit.”
Rahul was supposed to be available for the West Indies T20Is. However, he tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before the series and has now been ruled out of the upcoming ODIs in Zimbabwe as well.
“Either Rishabh Pant or Ishan Kishan could open in the second T20I” – Saba Karim
Sharing his thoughts on the opening conundrum for India, former keeper-batter Saba Karim picked Pant and Ishan Kishan as his two candidates. He opined that if Pant is in the reckoning for a place as an opener, he must get a decent run to prove his credentials. Karim said:
“Either Rishabh Pant or Ishan Kishan could open in the second T20I. Pant opened in England, and if he is in India’s plans to bat at the top, he needs to be given a chance in at least 4-5 games. I feel Rohit and Dravid want to accommodate him at 4 because he has done well there, but they will have to pick one from Pant or Kishan to open.”
The second T20I of the India-West Indies series will be played at St Kitts on Monday (August 1).