The Indian cricket team is not shying away from experimenting, especially at the top order. In the last few months, India have had several different opening partners for Rohit Sharma in T20I. With KL Rahul out injured, India have tried out Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant and even Suryakumar Yadav as openers.
Pant recently opened the innings for India twice in the T20Is against England, but he did not have much success scoring 26 and 1. Ishan on the other hand, opened for India during the South Africa T20Is, where he scored two half-centuries but was dismissed cheaply against England at Southampton. India recently took a punt with Suryakumar in the 1st T20I against West Indies and it wasn’t exactly a failed experiment as he scored 24 off 16 balls with three fours and a six.
Weighing in on India’s experimentation with the opening slot, former India all-rounder Reetinder Sodhi reckons Pant should not be the one partnering Rohit at the top. The reason behind Sodhi’s statement stems from his believe that Pant is much better off playing in the middle-order.
“I am not in favour of Rishabh Pant opening. He is India’s pivotal player. India need him when the game gets tight in the 15th-16th over. You can better utilise him in the middle overs. He can take on the spinners and seamers as well,” Sodhi said on India News.
The former all-rounder, who was part of India’s 2000 Under-19 World Cup win and represented the country in 18 ODIs, is confident of Ishan performing that role for the remaining four T20Is against West Indies. Ishan has scored 508 runs for India from 16 innings opening for India with four half-centuries, and ideally, after Rahul, he is next in the pecking order.
“I am not saying Pant cannot play the new ball, but India have better options for the top order. Ishan Kishan must open in all the four remaining games,” mentioned Sodhi.