Ian Chappell spoke in detail about how India might suffer due to Rishabh Pant’s absence in the upcoming Test series against Australia. India faces a stern test in the longest format of the game next month when the side takes on Australia in a four-match series.
The Test series will be crucial to India’s chances to qualify for the World Test Championship final, scheduled to be played in June later this year; India are currently second in the table with 58.93 percentage points to their name. Australia, meanwhile, are comfortably at the top with 75.56 percentage points.
Ian Chappell: No One Can Replace Rishabh Pant’s Desire To Dominate Bowlers
Ahead of the series, India received a major setback when one of their most consistent performers in the format – Rishabh Pant — faced severe injuries in a car crash last month. While Rishabh Pant is out of danger, he faces a significant period away from cricket as the India wicketkeeper-batter sustained injuries to his head, back, and leg.
In Rishabh Pant’s absence, India have named Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as two wicketkeepers in the squad for the first two Tests but Australia legend Ian Chappell believes the side will regardless be missing the 24-year-old wicketkeeper. Lavishing big praise on Rishabh Pant, Ian Chappell said that no batter can replicate Rishabh Pant’s “desire to dominate bowlers.”
“India also have some points to prove, not the least to do with how how Pant’s replacement performs. The main thing India will lose from Pant’s unavailability is an excellent run rate, which came from his belligerent aggression.
“No one can replace Pant’s desire to dominate bowlers, so India have to rely on their top batters not only performing but also maintaining a good strike rate,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column.
One of the key contributors to the side’s dominant comeback in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Test series in Australia was young wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant. The youngster was benched for the first Test in favour of Wriddhiman Saha, but the side’s stunning batting collapse forced the team management to include Rishabh Pant from the second match onwards.
The then 24-year-old wicketkeeper didn’t let the side down, as he smashed 274 runs in three games averaging 68.5 including an unbeaten 89 at the Gabba in the second innings – a knock that steered India to a famous series win.
Rishabh Pant has amassed 624 runs in 7 Tests against Australia averaging 62.4. He scored 350 runs in 4 Tests averaging 58.33 including a career-best 159* against Australia in the 2018/19 series.
Ian Chappell: Australia’s Bowling Led By Nathan Lyon Will Depend On India’s Top 3 Batters- Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara
Ian Chappell also laid a task for India’s big three – Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara – as they gear up to face Aussie spinner, Nathan Lyon.
“One of the main tasks for Indian players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will be to establish mental superiority over Lyon. If Australia can’t rely on Lyon claiming regular wickets at an acceptable rate, their bowling will then depend greatly on the “big three”,” said Ian Chappell.
Nathan Lyon has 94 scalps in 22 Tests against India averaging 34.76. He had dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara the most 10 times. Ajinkya Rahane, who is not in the selectors’ frame currently at the moment and isn’t named for the ongoing Test squad against Australia, has also been dismissed 10 times by Nathan Lyon. Virat Kohli (7 times) and Rohit Sharma (6 times) have also been dismissed by the off-spinner.