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Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 In First 2 ODIs Against Proteas

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

Rishabh Pant understands the value of his wicket and the reason why the team management often asks him to use his discretion in shot selection during important phases of various matches.

Rishabh Pant was out to an atrocious shot during the second Test in Wanderers, which led to a lot of criticism from all quarters and former skipper Virat Kohli stating that they have had a word with the talented southpaw.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant Explains Reason To Bat At No. 4 To Adhere To Left Right Combination

Although then-captain Virat Kohli and coach Rahul Dravid backed the southpaw over his style of cricket and his match-winning abilities, it was not the first time when questions over Rishabh Pant’s brand of cricket were raised. However, he responded sensationally in Cape Town in the third and final Test, when he scored an attacking 100 off 139 on a challenging track with seam movement and variable bounce.

Mere days after that masterclass in a losing cause, Rishabh Pant constructed another stroke-filled, aggressive 85-run knock at Paarl’s Boland Park in the 2nd ODI, which came in a losing cause.

“There are always positive talks that as an individual what I can do. All the strokes are there but how can I play with patience and according to the situation. So a lot of discussions happen,” Pant, who since then had scored a hundred in the third Test at Cape Town and followed it with career-best 85 in the second ODI, told reporters during a virtual interaction.

“And whatever we discuss, we practice and after that try to implement in the match,” he added.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

According to Rishabh Pant, who made a career-best 85, the team management has entrusted him with the responsibility of batting at four, to ensure a right-left combination.

“The reason to bat at number four was if a left-hander gets a chance to bat in the middle, then it becomes easy to rotate strike, with the left-right combination, especially in the middle overs when leg-spinners or left-arm spinners bowl.”…..so that is why the team management felt that a left-handed batter should bat and that is why that role was given to me,” he said.

Rishabh Pant also said that the team is learning from the mistakes in its endeavour to get better.

“I think as (from) a batting point of view, we are fine, we are going fine. We are learning from our mistakes and every day as the Indian cricket team we strive to improve our cricket and that is the only thing we are looking forward (to).”

Rishabh Pant believes that the difference between the two teams in the just lost ODI series was far better middle-overs batting by the South African side. Having lost the first ODI game by 31 runs, Indians were once again soundly thrashed by seven wickets after having put up a reasonably good 287 runs on the board. Rishabh Pant’s magnificent 71-ball 85 – his career-best score in ODIs, was the lone silver lining in the 2nd ODI.

Rishabh Pant: Shardul Thakur’s Batting Lower Down The Order Was A Positive

Rishabh Pant believes that Shardul Thakur’s batting in both the first two games (50 no and 40 no) has been one of the biggest positives in the series so far.

“One more positive was the way Shardul (Thakur) batted down the order, in both the matches, that was also a positive. The way Venky (Venkatesh Iyer) bowled, he conceded more runs in one or two overs, but still, it felt that he could bowl (at this level). So, there are a lot of positives, which we can take as a team.”

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Pant admitted that Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the two games. The Indian spin duo picked only two wickets in two matches as India picked just 7 wickets in the first two ODIs.

“I think they (SA spinners) were more consistent in their lines and lengths and they are used to playing in these conditions,” he said. One of the biggest reasons for the defeat is the lack of 50-over game time for a long duration, opined Rishabh Pant.

“We are playing ODIs after a long time and lots of factors we can talk about but as a team, we are always looking to improve and hopefully, we will be able to rectify them in coming matches.”

Rishabh Pant brushed aside queries about the poor form of pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“As a team, we are always looking to improve and I don’t think there is much concern about Bhuvi bhai’s form. Obviously, we are playing an ODI after a long time so we are just getting used to the momentum, obviously disappointed after losing the series but at the same time we are looking at ways to learn from our mistakes.” 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has returns of 0/64 and 0/67 in the first 2 ODIs of the 3 match series and was dropped in the 3rd ODI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 18 overs in two matches and conceded runs with an economy of 7.27 without taking a single wicket. In the last ODI series against Sri Lanka in July last year, he picked 3 wickets in 2 matches with an economy of 6.15.

India made four changes as Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, and Deepak Chahar replaced Venkatesh Iyer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Shardul Thakur. South Africa is 168/3 and Quinton de Kock has almost scored a ton.

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