Pant and Sharma, along with the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur, are taking a break from international cricket during the Test series against New Zealand. Virat Kohli will also miss the first Test but will be back to captain the side in the second match, which will be played in Mumbai.
While reflecting on India's squad for the New Zealand series in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was slightly perturbed by Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma's decision to miss both the Tests. He said:
"If Rohit is not playing even one Test match, Rishabh Pant is also not playing and they are going to be surely a part of our XI in the first Test against South Africa, I am a little worried."
The former India opener added that Pant and Sharma could have taken a break during the first Test and returned for the second encounter. Chopra reasoned:
"I am just wondering, is it not a preparation for South Africa? Why am I saying the second match is important? You don't play the first, you can take a break in between because when you go to South Africa and there is no game time in between, it is going to be tough. The batters need some time in the middle, they should be used to scoring runs on the pitch."
The BCCI might consider sending Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma slightly early to South Africa. They could join the India A squad in such a scenario and get acclimatized to the conditions in the Rainbow Nation.
"The England series was not a great one for Rishabh Pant" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Rishabh Pant has also not enjoyed great success with the bat in recent times. He elaborated:
"I am thinking that the series that Pant had in England, that wasn't a great series for him. He did not score too many runs. IPL was also okay okay, World Cup was also okay okay. He will play the T20s here but will not play even one Test."
The reputed commentator also cited the example of KL Rahul, who has opted not to take a break despite having played almost the same amount of cricket as Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma. Chopra observed:
"You can leave the WTC because there was a one-month gap after that, so let's start from the India-England Test matches, KL Rahul is also a player who has played all the matches. KL Rahul will be playing the T20s, he is the vice-captain there and he is playing the two Test matches also. He is not looking for that big a break."
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However, Aakash Chopra added that he agrees with Bumrah and Shami being given a break. He reasoned that he has great empathy for the bowlers and the Indian team can do without the duo in subcontinental conditions.
Q. Should Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma have played at least one of the Tests against NZ?
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