Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar asked for wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant's inclusion in India's final group stage game against Zimbabwe in the ongoing T20 World Cup on Sunday, November 6, at the MCG.
Despite winning three out of four matches in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage, the Men in Blue are yet to seal a qualification for the semi-final stage. A win against Zimbabwe might ensure ameeting with England in the second semi-final on November 10 in Adelaide.
Pant, who has scored 961 runs in 62 T20Is at a strike rate of 127.62, has been warming the bench so far in the tournament with the team management preferring veteran Dinesh Karthik over the youngster.
Gavaskar wants Pant to slot in at No.5 in the batting order and test his abilities ahead of India's potential semi-final clash. Speaking on giving Pant an opportunity to play against Zimbabwe, Sunil Gavaskar told Sports Today:
"In this game you cannot take anything for granted that India will be able to beat Zimbabwe. This again is an opportunity to try somebody like a Rishabh Pant. Give him an opportunity and let him bat up the order. Let him bat at No.5. "
"Don't worry about who is coming in at 6 and 7. Let him show what he is capable of and let him get some game time. Again if you want to pick him in the semis, you pick him in the semis."
"Maybe give Yuzvendra Chahal a go and see what he does" - Sunil Gavaskar
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is another key player missing from the action with the team playing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has picked up three wickets in four matches at an average of 35.33 in the T20 World Cup so far.
Chahal is the second-most wicket-taker (85) for India in T20Is behind Bhuvneshwar Kumar (88). The right-arm wrist spinner has picked up three wickets against Zimbabwe at 29.67 and an economy of 7.42.
While explaining the advantages of including Chahal in India's playing XI against the African nation, Gavaskar said:
What they should be looking to do against Zimbabwe is that they can experiment with that one spinner. Maybe give Chahal a go and see what he does then. If he bowls well, gets his line right, if his rhythm is right, who knows. Because India should beat Zimbabwe. Traditionally, non-subcontinental teams have struggled against quality wrist spin bowler. So give Chahal an opportunity.
If Chahal gets picked for the Zimbabwe game on Sunday then the 32-year-old will make his debut in the T20 World Cup.