In 1-2 games, you could see him playing: Suresh Raina on Rishabh Pant

Written by Vipin Darwade

Going into the Asia Cup, the Indian team had a big selection dilemma of choosing between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik as their gloveman. However, through the Asia Cup and the two series against Australia and South Africa, it was made clear that Karthik, with his finishing skills was the Men in Blue’s first choice. And, it seems like India will continue with the same in the T20 World cup as well, but former batter Suresh Raina suggested that Pant might be in with a chance to get into the side in 1-2 games.

“He’s an important player. He has done it (made runs previously) in Australia. He’s scored hundreds there and won the Gabba Test for us. He’s an X-factor because if you see from 1-6, there’s no leftie batter. So, how they are going to use him, it’s very important. He’s a very good player and knows how to bat in pressure situations. Hopefully, the management must be thinking about how to bring him in. So, in one or two games, you could see him playing again,” Raina was quoted as saying.

Team India went in with Axar Patel at No. 7 in the two series against Australia and South Africa and it seems like Karthik at six and the left-arm spinning all-rounder behind him is the line-up Rohit Sharma and Co. are set to field in the T20 World Cup as well.

“I would say the presence of a left-handed batter would be very important in the middle. From No. 1-6, we don’t have a left-hander and I’m sure the opponents will have two-three left-handed bowlers. We have seen it in the past – 2007, 2011 and 2013 – the role Gauti, Yuvi Pa and I played. When Yuvi Pa and I played, we would scare the opponents. Now Rahul, Rohit will have to decide how they have to go about it. I’m sure they must be thinking over it, but whoever they play, we have to win. You need to bring the X factor with Hardik and who can be the X factor? I think Rishabh being a left-hander could be better.”

“DK has got an opportunity, he has been given a role. But I’m not saying whether they should prefer Pant over DK. Whoever gets a chance, needs to take a lot of responsibility and win the game. A left-right combination can upset the rhythm, especially when the grounds in Australia are big. It’s important to have a left-handed batter in the middle. Pant has done really well in Australia and won the Test series there. So we’ll see” Raina added.

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Vipin Darwade