Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg wants to see Rishabh Pant cement his position at No. 4 in India's T20I team. Hogg believes the young wicketkeeper-batsman has the skills to build on the foundation set by the top-three batsmen.
Recently, skipper Virat Kohli said that he would like to continue to open the innings after scoring a series-winning 80* in the 5th T20I against England. Although he has clarified that nothing is written in stone as of now, Kohli and Rohit Sharma coming out to bat at the top of the order for India in the T20 World Cup is a real possibility.
Speaking on his Youtube channel, Hogg explained that Rishabh Pant provides a brilliant left-hand option in the middle-order, which could be crucial in preventing bowlers from getting comfortable against right-handers.
"Rishabh batting at No. 4 always. I think so because if you're going to open with Rohit and Kohli and then have Suryakumar coming at 3, I think it will be a wise option to have the left-hander coming in at No. 4 just to break the lines and lengths of the bowling," said Brad Hogg.
In the 5 T20Is against England, Rishabh Pant got to bat 4 times. He occupied the No. 4 spot in the first two games but was pushed to No. 5 in the next two, when Virat Kohli shifted to No. 4. In all these games, Rishabh Pant batted ahead of Shreyas Iyer.
Interestingly, in the one game when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli opened, Hardik Pandya was sent ahead of Pant at 2-down and the 23-year-old didn't get a chance to bat.
Speaking further, Hogg suggested that Pant's prowess against spin makes him the Australian's first-choice for the middle-overs. However, Hogg also added that Iyer can come in if India lose their first two wickets quickly.
"Pant is very dominant against spin, and spinners normally come in those middle overs and are operating around the 10-12 over mark. That’s probably the area he’s most likely to come in. For me, Pant should always be out at No. 4 but if they lose two early wickets, I’d like to see (Shreyas) Iyer come in," said Brad Hogg.
Virat Kohli praises Rishabh Pant's contribution in the T20I series
Regardless of his batting position, Rishabh Pant looked in good touch in the T20Is, scoring 102 runs at an average of 25.50. After the series win, skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for the youngster.
"Rishabh Pant has shown a lot of maturity to bat in difficult situations and get to 30-35, he has really capitalized on his opportunities," said Virat Kohli.
Rishabh Pant will now feature in the 3-match ODI series against England, which begins on Tuesday, March 23. With the No. 4 spot up for grabs in this format as well, it will be interesting to see where Pant bats, if given the opportunity.