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IND v AUS 2020: 'The Indian team can use Rishabh Pant just as a batsman with the X-factor' - Murali Kartik

Murali Kartik believes Rishabh Pant can play the second Test as a pure batsman
Murali Kartik believes Rishabh Pant can play the second Test as a pure batsman
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 19 Dec 2020, 20:20 IST
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Former spinner Murali Kartik has opined that the Indian team can opt to play Rishabh Pant as a specialist batsman in the Boxing Day Test while Wriddhiman Saha continues to keep wickets.

He made this observation while talking about the likely team changes India could make for the second Test during a discussion on the Sony Sports network.

Murali Kartik replied in the affirmative when asked if Rishabh Pant can be brought in for Virat Kohli if the team feels they need a batsman who takes the attack to the opposition.

The former left-arm spinner reckons Ajinkya Rahane can promote himself to the No. 4 spot in such a scenario. He added that Rishabh Pant can play as a specialist batsman who can prove to be the game-changer.

"One more thing can happen is that Ajinkya Rahane who plays up the order in first-class cricket can himself come at No. 4 because of the forced change. You can use Rishabh Pant just as a batsman with the X-factor."

Murali Kartik observed the Indian team has another selection headache in the form of Prithvi Shaw, who he feels the team management rightly persisted with for the first Test.

"But it depends on Prithvi Shaw, who was looking that he is not in form but the team management did the right thing by giving him the first chance. He had done well in the last Test match he played."

Murali Kartik highlighted that the diminutive opener looked totally out of sorts in the Adelaide Test and the team management could look for a replacement for him as well.

"Everyone was seeing that he did not score runs in the IPL and wanted him to be kept out, but they did not do that. But in this match, he didn't look in confidence at all. So, will you want to put him in pressure again or want to bring a fresh player who does not have that issue."

Murali Kartik pointed out that KL Rahul, who is being seen as one of the possible replacements, has only returned to the Test fold based on his limited-overs performances.

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"Everyone is seeing KL Rahul's form but when he was left out of the Test team, it was because of his Test form. Now he came back in the team because of other things. When someone sees the recent form, they feel he is in form."

Murali Kartik feels both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha can play together

Murali Kartik believes Saha can continue to keep wickets with Rishabh Pant playing as a batsman
Murali Kartik believes Saha can continue to keep wickets with Rishabh Pant playing as a batsman

Murali Kartik signed off by observing that the Indian team can opt to play both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha in their playing XI. He reckons the former can play as a pure batsman while the latter continues to ply his trade behind the stumps.

"So these things will have to seen with interest. Rishabh Pant has not done anything wrong as a batsman so you can play him as a batsman and don't take the gloves from Wriddhiman Saha. So, that can also happen. It all depends on their thinking."
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It is unlikely that the Indian team will field Rishabh Pant as a specialist batsman for the Melbourne Test, especially after being bowled out for just 36 runs in their second innings of the Adelaide encounter.

They could opt for the dynamic wicket-keeper instead of Saha if they want to add more depth to their batting under the current circumstances.


Published 19 Dec 2020, 20:20 IST
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