Feb.27 (CRICKETNMORE) - With the advent of 2019, we’re now looking forward to seeing the biggest spectacle of the cricketing spectrum. The World Cup has a chartered and incredibly decorated history, having witnessed the sort of matches and entwined sporting passions that most matches played in cricket have failed to replicate.
The stakes are at their highest in the World Cup and squads and teams are picked ever so meticulously to ensure that no debacle is experienced. Casinos in India are on their toes trying to keep up with the developments so that they can put in the next big bet that changes a life. The big dogs have to turn up and reinforce their dominance as being toppled by a lesser side or minnow could prove to be disastrous and in some cases, it might lead to teams and their dynamics being changed and the old guard being bid adieu. Entire teams have been revamped in an effort to both punish and give chance to a generation of cricketers who’d probably be more adept. Since India’s well-remembered debacle in 2007, all stakeholders have made sure that mistakes of the past are not repeated and over the past few years, a host of young players have been given the chance to shine in order to develop a plethora of options for the selectors to pick from. The likes of Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and the works have come into the team and made their impact, making them rather indispensable or players who are considered a fixture in the side despite the talent pool we have today being deeper than ever before. With so much star power and promising talent to pick from, the selectors are probably experiencing an enviable nightmare and even the best of talents might miss out on being a part of Team India come the World Cup.
Rishabh Pant has been at the centre of deliberations on the matter of World Cup selections. Pant has impressed since he was given his first cap in the ODI against West Indies. He has scored a couple of tons since debuting against England in August last year, cementing his status as one of the most excitable talents in Indian cricket. Legends of the game, ranging from Farrokh Engineer to Sunil Gavaskar, have been raving about him and his performances as of late. While there are no doubts as to Pant’s status as a future Indian team regular, there are question marks over whether he should be included over more experienced players in the WC, namely Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik. There are only so many wicket-keeper batsmen a squad can accommodate given the obvious fact that you only really need to play one wicketkeeper.
In this article, we will explore the viability of Rishabh Pant as a player that should be taken to the World Cup. While a talented player, we must take into account other variables before we can arrive at a satisfying conclusion.
Even the best of batsmen tend to lose form or find it awkward to play in a spot they haven’t attuned their game to or just aren’t naturally predispositioned to be play in. Some players only realise their true potential upon being entrusted with higher spots in the batting order. For example, Virender Sehwag started out playing as a lower order batsman playing at No. 7. While he didn’t do too badly there, it was only when he was moved up the order and stationed as an opener did we see his swashbuckling batting really take form. Even Tendulkar did better coming in as a No.3 than as an opener or lower down the pecking order. Imagine the best openers in the world being slotted in as middle order batsmen. Needless to say, they wouldn’t carry the same amount of potency as a Ponting or Martyn. Every order requires its own set of ideal characteristics.
In India’s case, the batting lineup is pretty stacked. Aside from the opening batsmen, Kohli and Dhoni are supported by a slew of talented batsmen who can carry the middle order. While it is unlikely Pant would be able to displace any of these batsmen unless picked as a specialist batsman, the fact that Pant can be used as a bit of a floater should be considered when picking the squad. It is a very useful trait for a batsman to be able to play coming in at any number ranging from No. 3 to No. 7. His powerful abilities can be tactically utilised by Kohli depending on the situation, sort of like a Sehwag who’d determine games depending on which Sehwag turned up.
His ability to clear the ropes
In the modern era, 400+ scores in ODIs no longer daunt sides and aren’t a strange sight in cricket. With Twenty20 taking over and prominence of the Indian Premier League ever so evident in the modern game, batsmen have become more and more inclined to bat for the boundaries rather than bide their time or lend any respect to the bowlers. Pant’s big-hitting abilities should not be taken for granted given the fact that we could need that skill set any given time when the going gets tough and the required run rate is piling up when we are chasing a challenging target. We could always do with a pinch hitter of sorts when we intend to post a big target as well, with Pant being a reliable scorer of runs.
Dhoni isn’t getting any younger
While Dhoni hasn’t really shown signs of decline and could easily deliver in the World Cup, Pant needs to be honed as the eventual successor of Dhoni. Farrokh Engineer opined that while he’s a fan of Pant’s batting exploits, his wicketkeeping needs a lot of work. Dhoni could act as a mentor for Pant while the 21-year-old is learning his way around the big leagues, giving him tips in a bid to improve his wicketkeeping and perhaps also helping him with developing into a potent finisher of games like Dhoni has been for India over the years. Under Dhoni’s tutelage, Pant should be able to develop his feel for the game and mature as a player.