Yuvraj Singh defends Rishabh Pant; explains what went wrong for Team India in 2019 World Cup semi-final
Former batsman Yuvraj Singh has defended Rishabh Pant’s stroke that led to his dismissal in last year’s World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand at the Old Trafford. Pant came in when India were tottering at 24/4 and scored a courageous 32, while adding 47 runs for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya before a slog sweep led to his dismissal.
The shot selection did not leave captain Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri impressed as the Indian captain was seen mouthing a few words at his coach while pointing at Pant. Yuvraj came to Pant’s defence saying the youngster was just playing his fifth ODI and that reason India lost the match was due to lack of planning for the World Cup.
Pant came in for the injured Vijay Shankar, who was Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement in the first place after the India opener fractured his thumb. Weighing in on the dismissal, Yuvraj explained Pant was added into the squad on the back of a decent IPL, which is not the ideal way of preparing for a tournament as big as the World Cup.
“Rishabh Pant was just playing his fifth match. I know everyone was pissed at that shot, but you need to understand he was just playing his fifth match. You need experience when you play a big tournament,” Yuvraj told Kevin Pietersen during a session of Instagram Live.
“We did not plan well for the 2019 World Cup. When you play an IPL match for 20 overs, you have the authority of playing big shots anytime, but in 50-over matches you cannot smash every ball. If the IPL was a fifty-over tournament, and if Pant had the experience of three IPLs in that format, then things would have been different. I’m just saying your mindset is different when you have the experience of playing 50-over matches.”
During their conversation, Yuvraj and Pietersen touched upon their famous rivalry which later developed into a wonderful friendship. Pietersen had labelled Yuvraj a pie-chucker after the former England batsman was dismissed by him on a few occasions. Recalling the incident, Yuvraj revealed that due to a particular reason, the tag has managed to stick with him.
“It’s still my email address, when you made that statement about my bowling. I didn’t feel bad, I actually laughed. I laughed so much because over the years I could not put it into words. But when you said it I felt yes that is what my bowling is,” he said.
“That’s why I put pie-chucker in my email address. It’s my favourite email id. A lot of my friends address me as pie-chucker sometimes. When you know somebody hits your bowling, they don’t want to get out to your bowling. I know you were like, ‘I’m going to hit this guy out of the park but I can’t get out to him’. That was a lot of fun.”