India vs New Zealand: Harbhajan Singh names the ‘X-factor player’ India will need at 2019 World Cup

Updated on Feb 09, 2019 12:11 PM IST

Rishabh Pant took India home with an unbeaten knock of 40 off 28 deliveries after Krunal Pandya (3/28) and Rohit Sharma (50) starred with the ball and bat respectively to level the series.

India's MS Dhoni, left, and Rishabh Pant walk off after winning their twenty/20 cricket international against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland.(AP)
India's MS Dhoni, left, and Rishabh Pant walk off after winning their twenty/20 cricket international against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland.(AP)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

India cricketer Harbhajan Singh heaped praise on wicket-keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant after the latter played a match-winning knock in the second T20I against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday.

Pant took India home with an unbeaten knock of 40 off 28 deliveries after Krunal Pandya (3/28) and Rohit Sharma (50) starred with the ball and bat respectively to level the series.

Following India’s win, Harbhajan said every such innings — from now till the multi-national event in England and Wales — will help the southpaw get closer to the World Cup squad.

Also Read: India’s predicted XI for 3rd T20I– Couple of changes expected

“Every opportunity will take (Rishabh) Pant closer to the World Cup squad, especially if he continues to keep scoring like this (Auckland T20I),” Harbhajan told Aaj Tak.

“I feel he has that x-factor which India will need in the (2019)World Cup. Pant is someone who can change games,” he added.

Harbhajan also spoke about the importance of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s presence in the side by giving an example from the Auckland T20I. There was time in the game when Pant was trying to hit everything out of the park but a chat with Dhoni in the middle changed it all.

“Pant made full use of his opportunity and batting with Dhoni. When he hit a few casual shots, Dhoni walked up to him and explained what he needed to do. After that he played safer shots, down the ground and hit only the balls which were there to be hit,” Harbhajan said.

The third and the final T20I of the series will be played at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.

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