After a convincing victory over England in the Test series, India’s focus is now on the T20I series which will go underway from 12th March 2021. India has given some remarkable performances in the past couple of months, especially in Tests. And, Rishabh Pant has been the prime contributor to the success of the team. His fearless attitude which troubled India in the past has now become his identity. He is back in the Indian T20I squad after a long time.
It is interesting to notice that he was missing from the T20I squad earlier just because of his audacious mindset. And, the same attitude will help him in the T20I this time around. He’s definitely one of the players to look out for in the series.
When did Pant play his last T20I match?
Rishabh Pant last played a T20I game for India against Sri Lanka in Jan 2020. He played just 1 ball in that match as India won that game comfortably. India next toured New Zealand. Though Pant was named in the squad, he didn’t play a single game in the T20I series. Pant was competing with Sanju Samson and KL Rahul back then. In the T20I series, KL Rahul was the wicket-keeper batsman for the team. He was opening the innings and was playing some fearless knocks. Hence, India made a statement that they actually don’t need to play a specialist wicket-keeper in the team.Embed from Getty Images
Moreover, Samson was the next wicket-keeper batsman available in the squad. Pant was the third choice. He missed the complete series. He was then dropped from the T20I squad against Australia. People had divided opinions on the same.
Tests: The saviour for a so-called T20 player
Though Pant was omitted from the limited-overs squad in Australia, he was named in the Test squad. Wriddhiman Saha was still the first choice wicket-keeper for India in Tests. Saha did play the first Test as well. The reason was very simple, the team needed a better wicket-keeper than a better batsman in Test Cricket. Saha has always been a far better wicket-keeper than Pant. But, Saha’s style of play as a batsman created a bit of dissatisfaction. Hence, Pant got a chance ahead in the Test series. And, what a magnificent series he later had.
“It’s been a dream series”.Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant ended up as the highest run-scorer for India in the Test series playing a game less than most of them. He had the highest average in the series, even more than Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith. This is something special. Moreover, he didn’t try to please anyone. He stuck to his audacious attitude. He didn’t care what people will say about him, he didn’t care what is his current score, he didn’t care about the bowler, he just batted fearlessly.
Rishabh Pant’s 89* in Gabba was the innings that defined his character and his fearless attitude.
He never played for a draw, he always went for the win.
Test series against England: Cherry on the cake
Rishabh Pant was in his dream form in Test Cricket after a wonderful series in Australia. The Test series against England was only a cherry on the cake for him.Embed from Getty Images
He was the top scorer for India in the first innings of the first Test. He scored 91. Apparently, the thing which is more important to note is that he got out on 91 playing a big shot. Some might say, it’s immaturity. But, it’s his attitude that has helped him before. It might clear the boundary sometimes and sometimes it won’t. It’s just his style of playing. That incident made his strategy very clear to everyone.
How can Pant’s Test form help him in the T20I series against England:
The reason behind Pant’s inclusion in the T20I squad is not his form in the Test cricket, it’s not about the number of runs he scored. What’s more important is actually how he scored those runs and the circumstances in which he scored those runs. Pant’s fearless attitude is more than welcome in T20I’s. India has been criticized for its mindset in T20I’s. Experts had the thought that India had too many players of the same kind. They needed someone who doesn’t care about his wicket but look to maximise the score. Pant is the answer for team management. He completely fits into the criteria.Embed from Getty Images
As long as Pant plays freely, he’s a fantastic addition for team India. People might question his attitude but he’s actually winning games for the team and perhaps that’s what you expect from someone, right? Even Rohit Sharma had the same thoughts about him:
“It’s important for him to be himself. He likes to enjoy his game. You must have seen it on the ground. That is what we as the team management expect from him. Just go and enjoy the game, and do what you like to do”Rohit Sharma
With Pant batting at number 5, perhaps at number 4 sometimes might solve the run rate issues for team India in T20I’s. He’s the man to look for in the series. His performance lower down the order will matter a lot. Let’s see, how his inclusion changes the dynamics for team India in T20I’s.
Featured Image: Rishabh Pant | Instagram
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