Indian politician Shashi Tharoor feels India could play both Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul in white-ball cricket, with the latter being deployed as the wicket-keeper. Tharoor, a well-known cricket aficionado, believes Team India need to find a way to play Pant in all three formats.
Rishabh Pant showed his class in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as he finished as India's top scorer, despite not playing the first Test. His two heroic knocks of 97 and 89* in two consecutive matches impressed Shashi Tharoor, who thinks India should come up with a solution to play the southpaw as a batsman in all formats. Speaking exclusively to Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Live, Tharoor said:
"We are now coming to India, Saha seems to be the obvious pick (as a wicketkeeper in sub-continent conditions), but we can't afford to leave out Pant the batsman. The guy has played in two successive Tests, innings of the highest pedigree- 97 & 89*. I would say we have to play Pant for his batting; if we can't accommodate Saha, we will just have to give Pant more and more coaching as a keeper. Either that or we will have to find some out of the box solution."
Speaking of solutions, Shashi Tharoor opined that KL Rahul should continue donning the wicket-keeping gloves in white-ball cricket, while Rishabh Pant could play purely as a batsman.
"One solution i was thinking about whether, KL Rahul can come in as a keeper and Pant play purely as a batsman because Rahul seems a safer keeper even though he has less experience as a full-time keeper than Rishabh Pant, and is not a regular keeper for his home state. I feel Rahul will be back as a batsman in some time (in Test), when that happens, let him keep and let Pant bat. Certainly in ODIS and T20s, its an option worth exploring. What they did in the last two series was Rahul kept, and Pant was dropped. Maybe we should let Rahul keep and play Rishabh Pant as a batsman in white-ball matches." said Tharoor.
Rishabh Pant's impressive performance in Australia
It was a bit surprising that Rishabh Pant wasn't the first choice wicket-keeper going into the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He had a terrific time in Australia in 2018-19, with the southpaw scoring 350 runs at an average of 58.33, including his career-best of 159*.
The left-handed batsman starred in the recently-concluded series too, scoring 274 runs in three Tests at an average of 45.66. The circumstances and the manner in which he scored those runs made his performances all the more special, with India securing a 2-1 series win.