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AFP
September 23, 2019

Pant should bat at No 5: Gavaskar

Sports

AFP
September 23, 2019

NEW DELHI: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes they could send Rishabh Pant in at No. 5 in limited-overs cricket to allow the wicketkeeper-batsman to play his natural game.

Pant was the subject of a debate last week, after India’s newly appointed batting coach Vikram Rathour said the wicketkeeper-batsman was among a set of young players who needed to be more disciplined in their game plan.

Rathour pointed out that “there is a fine line between fearless cricket and careless cricket”. The day after Rathour’s comments, Pant’s discipline and shot selection were in the spotlight again, in the second T20I against South Africa in Mohali, where he deposited a leg-stump short-of-a-length ball into the hands of short fine leg.

In Mohali, Pant came in at No. 4, a position the Indian team management placed him at even during the World Cup. In the semi-final against New Zealand, Pant heaved the ball to cow corner just as he was in the middle of building a partnership with Hardik Pandya after India’s top-order slump.

Gavaskar believed playing Pant at No. 5 could release the pressure on the young batsman. “Giving him a bit of breathing space by slotting him at No. 5 could also help, for at that number he will invariably come in to bat where his aggressive batting is needed from the start rather than when he has to build his and the team’s innings,” Gavaskar wrote in Sunday Mid-Day.

Like Rathour, Gavaskar felt Pant had to work on his shot selection, but said the young player should not let outside opinions affect him too much. “In Pant’s case, it’s more of a case of wrong shot selection than anything else,” “With experience he will be better at shot selection and will be more consistent but right now he needs a hand around his shoulders rather than a public dressing down.”

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