'The idea to promote Rishabh Pant at no. 5 came from Virat Kohli,' reveals India batting coach Vikram Rathour
One of the most surprising twists during the Sydney Test against Australia came on the final day when after Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed early, Rishabh Pant came out to bat. Many expected Hanuma Vihari to come down and defend against the Australia bowlers, especially with Ravindra Jadeja injured and expected to not bat in the day.
But Pant's promotion worked wonders as the left-handed batsman just took on the Australia bowlers, smashing 97 runs to take the match closer than anyone expected. The match ended in a draw but India's strategy had worked.
It was played again on the final day of the Brisbane Test and this time Pant remained unbeaten on 89 to help India to a win at the Gabba.
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Speaking to India off-spinner R Ashwin in a video on his Youtube channel, India batting coach revealed it was Virat Kohli's idea to promote Pant up in the batting order.
“It came from Virat to be honest,” Rathour said. “He said, ‘in case we play both left-handers, it will be a good idea if we can send Pant at No. 5 so that we can have a left-right combination. We discussed it with Ajinkya also. Then during the match, in the first innings, we decided to let him go at No.6.
Rathour further revealed why they decided to send him at no. 5 in the 2nd innings at SCG. "Irrespective of when we lose wickets, this is the last innings, and we were going for the runs. The intent was not to draw the Test. Till we can, we were going to go for the win. That was the right time to send him in,” Rathour added.
“Ravi Shastri is a great believer of left-right combination and thought for a long time that Australians don’t bowl that well to the left-handers. And Ajinkya agreed to send him at No.5."
Rathour further revealed that there were even discussions to send Pant at no. 4 if they got a good start.
"I was telling Ajinkya if we get a good start we can send him at No. 4 in the first innings but that didn’t happen,” Rathour added.
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