Melbourne : Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said he would include young Rishabh Pant ahead of the seasoned Dinesh Karthik in India’s playing eleven for their Men’s T20 World Cup semifinal against England at Adelaide Oval on November 10, citing the x-factor brought in by the left-hander.
India have been taking Karthik as wicketkeeper-cum-specialist finisher in the tournament. But on Sunday, Pant was selected instead of Karthik for their final Super 12 match against Group 2 opponents Zimbabwe in Melbourne.
In his first match of the tournament, Pant played a flat slog-sweep off Sean Williams in the 14th over. But Ryan Burl ran full tilt to his left from long-on and flung himself to take a superb diving catch, ending Pant’s stay at just three runs.
“Dinesh is a lovely team player. But when it comes to a game against England or New Zealand, just seeing their attack, I think you need a robust left-hander, who can turn it on and is a match-winner and a left-hander.”
“He has done well against England. He recently won a match on his own against England, a one-day game (125 not out in Manchester). I would go with Pant, not just because he played here, but because of the x-factor angle, he can bring to the semifinal,” said Shastri after the match ended.
With head coach Rahul Dravid stating in the post-match press conference that the Indian team has never lost faith in Pant’s abilities, Shastri pointed out how the youngster can be useful in getting runs for the side through short, square boundaries in Adelaide and against an England bowling attack full of variety in fast as well as spin bowling department.
“You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack. If you have too many right-handers, there is a sense of sameness to it.”
“England have a nice attack, a varied attack of left-handers and right-handers. You need a left-hander in your team, who can be dangerous and win you a game in the back overs even if you have lost 3 or 4 wickets at the top,” he added.