Rishabh Pant told he's 'not fit for middle order' at T20 World Cup: 'Can he bat at 3 behind Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli?' | Crickit
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Rishabh Pant told he's 'not fit for middle order' at T20 World Cup: 'Can he bat at 3 behind Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli?'

Apr 25, 2024 03:17 PM IST

Rishabh Pant made a strong case for selection in the T20 World Cup squad with an aggressive unbeaten 88 against Gujarat Titans on Wednesday

Rishabh Pant produced an emphatic performance in Delhi Capitals' thrilling four-run win over the Gujarat Titans on Wednesday night. The DC skipper remained unbeaten on 88 off just 43 deliveries, taking the side to a mammoth score of 224/4 before the side suppressed a valiant comeback effort from the visitors in Delhi, restricting the Titans to 220/8.

Delhi Capitals' captain Rishabh Pant plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans at the Arun Jaitley Stadium(AFP)
Delhi Capitals' captain Rishabh Pant plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans at the Arun Jaitley Stadium(AFP)

Partnering with Axar Patel, who was promoted to no.3 in the batting order and contributed with a valuable 66-run knock, Pant orchestrated a commanding partnership that set the stage for DC's imposing total. The wicketkeeper-batter's commanding form in the IPL – he is currently third in the Orange Cap list – has put him in a strong position for selection in India's T20 World Cup squad.

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However, former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull believes that Pant may not be suited to India's middle order and that the only position where the side could utilise him is the no.3 spot. According to Doull, Pant is not a slogger and needs time to ease into his innings, as he did during the game against the Titans on Wednesday night.

“He's getting closer. Can he bat at 3? Because I go back to the team I'm looking at (for T20 World Cup), and he doesn't fit in the middle-order. If he can, he's getting a step closer to the boarding pass,” Doull told Cricbuzz.

“He's a better player than a slogger or hitter. He comes, and he eases his way into his innings. That's why I say he's a terrific Test player. He's a fine batter. But I don't think he's a player who comes out and starts slogging, not in modern-day T20 cricket. That's why his numbers aren't nowhere near as good as they possibly should. So, my question is, could he bat at 3 behind the skipper and Virat (Kohli)?” said Doull.

When his fellow expert, Joy Bhattacharjya, suggested that Pant could bat at 4, Doull remarked that it wouldn't reap the rewards as the entire middle order would be filled with left-handers. The answer from Doull suggested that he sees the likes of Shivam Dube, Rinku Singh, and Ravindra Jadeja to fill up with fifth, sixth, and seventh spots, respectively.

Competition for wicketkeeping positions

With the deadline for T20 World Cup selection inching closer, the competition remains tight for wicketkeeping slots for the marquee tournament. While Sanju Samson has also shown consistent performances in the ongoing season, Dinesh Karthik made a surprise entry in the race, following a series of explosive performances in the finishing role for Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

The selectors will meet Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, in the coming days to finalise the World Cup squad. The deadline to send the 15-member squad is May 1.

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