In India, both talent and competitiveness are in abundance. Once former Australia head coach Justin Langer said that ” Out of 140 crore people in India if you are playing in the Indian cricket team’s starting 11, you are unquestionably a highly capable player”. There has been constant competition for slots in the Indian playing XI, especially in limited overs where there are at least two or three players vying for every spot.
In recent times, the spot of wicketkeeper-batsman in the Indian team for shorter formats has been in discussion. There are at least four options Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, and add KL Rahul to it. While Ishan and Samson have got rare opportunities, Pant is the first choice across formats. His Test numbers may be impressive but he has struggled in the white ball of late. Pant averages 35 in ODIs and 22 in T20Is (strike rate of 126), while he averages 43 in Tests, which has been his best format.
Pant’s place in the white-ball team has come under the radar recently, especially with Samson knocking at the door, averaging 44 in 6 T20Is and 71 in 10 ODIs. However, the youngster is not fazed but has confidently claimed that his white-ball record is not that bad as well and mentioned that it is not his age to compare between formats.
Rishabh: “Compare my stats once I’m 30-32”
Rishabh Pant has said that he would prefer to open in T20Is while continuing to bat in the middle order in ODIs and Tests. Speaking before the start of the third ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch, Pant said that he is only 25 years old and the white-ball and red-ball figures should be pitted against each other when he is 30-32. Stick around because right now there was “no logic” in such comparisons.
Harsha Bhogle spoke to Rishabh Pant ahead of the third ODI against New Zealand and asked a few questions.
Harsha Bhogle: In the recent past, you have batted in almost every position. Now, What is the position you would love to play at?
Rishabh: “I’d want to open in T20s, No. 4-5 in ODIs and Tests I’m already batting at No. 5.”
Harsha Bhogle: How much premeditated is your strategy in white ball cricket?
Rishabh: It’s mostly in T20s, not in white-ball cricket There’s no real need to premeditate in one-day cricket but you have to in T20s.
Harsha Bhogle: I asked the same question to Sehwag, a few years ago. Looking at you, we get the feeling that white-ball cricket is your USP but it’s your Test record that is better.
Rishabh: Sir, records are just numbers. My white-ball record is not bad either.
Harsha Bhogle: I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m comparing it with the Test numbers.
Rishabh: Comparisons are something I don’t look into. I’m 24-25, if you want to compare, you can do that when I am 30-32, no logic behind doing it before that.
In 31 Tests, Pant has scored over 2000 runs at an average of 43.33 and a strike rate of 72.66, including 5 centuries and 10 half-centuries. He has played 66 T20Is and scored 987 runs at a strike rate of 126.54 and an average of 22.43.
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