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It will be Big Mistake - Rishabh Pantís inclusion in the XI

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Old 06-19-2019, 08:08 PM
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Default It will be Big Mistake - Rishabh Pantís inclusion in the XI

World Cup 2019: Why Rishabh Pantís inclusion in the XI would be a gamble for Team India

Rishabh Pant
When the World Cup 2019 squad for Team India was announced, the decision to omit Ambati Rayadu and Rishabh Pant received a major backlash. Even Michael Vaughan came out in defence of Pant and urged the Indian selectors to reconsider their decision after Pant smashed 49 off 21 balls in a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2019.
But the selectors made it very clear that Team India would be going into the World Cup with an experienced pool of players. It made more sense to have someone like Dinesh Karthik, who made his debut in the Indian side way back in 2004. Also, it made no sense having 3 wicketkeepers in the squad.
However, the selectors reserved Rayadu and Pant to replace any injured batsmen during the course of the tournament. And after Shikar Dhawan fractured his thumb in the match against Australia, the doors opened for the young Pant to experience his first World Cup campaign.
So what does it mean to include him in the side? Pant, having played just 5 ODIs, averages a little over 23. While he may be a great entertainer in the shortest format of the game, he is yet to justify his credentials in the 50-over format.
It will be interesting to see if Pant gets a match in the remainder of the tournament. India have already defeated teams like South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, and are scheduled to play against Afghanistan this Saturday. The real acid test will come after that, against England.
KL Rahul has fairly justified his role after registering a half-century against Pakistan. In the same match, Vijay Shankar proved how dangerous he can be with the ball. In such a scenario, itís unlikely for India to tinker with the winning combination.
Still, if Pant makes the cut in the playing XI, he will be coming in at the expense of an all-rounder like Kedar Jadhav, whose off-spin is more than handy.
After every win, Virat Kohli has used a particular term to express the satisfaction with his teamís performance: Ďprofessionalism.í Indiaís batting performance has been nothing less than sensational all this while. The teamís strategy is simple: if the top order clicks, the team sends Hardik Pandya to bat at No. 4, which is around the 35th over mark. His task is to sabotage the confidence of the bowling unit by hammering every bowler beyond the boundary.
Today, teams require players who bring versatility to their batting style and have the ability to shift gears as per the situation. Who could have imagined Eoin Morgan setting the world record of 17 sixes in the match against Afghanistan? If itís someone like Chris Gayle or Andre Russell itís understandable. But it was the English captain who clearly displayed what kind of batting modern-day cricket demands.
Having Pant in the line-up also means India are going to compromise on the experience factor. In other words, it would put a lot of pressure on MS Dhoni to play the sheet-anchor role and add some extra weight to the middle and lower middle order. On a bad day, if the top order fails, the fragility and inexperience of the middle order could get exposed.
Too much of firepower in the batting line up is a dangerous thing. When West Indies registered a 400+ score in their practice match against New Zealand, everyone felt the West Indiesí team of the 80s was back in action. The same team, despite registering a 300+ score, went on to lose the match against Bangladesh.
The analysis is simple - West Indiesí gamble worked very well on a good day when all of their power hitters rose to the task and delivered. On a bad day against Bangladesh, their line up missed a modern-day batsman. Although Shai Hope showed great composure, he wasn't resourceful enough to keep the scoreboard ticking during the period of consolidation.
Adding Pant to the line-up will only increase the fragility of the middle order. Team India doesnít need two Andre Russells in the form of Pant and Pandya. The concept of pinch hitters coming in to bat at No. 3 or No. 4 is passť in modern day cricket.
In other words, if Pant is included in the playing XI, it will be a gamble.

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