Rishabh Pant has that X factor which India will need in the World Cup, says Harbhajan Singh
What's the story?
India registered a thumping win in the second T20I against New Zealand to level the series 1-1. After being outplayed in the first T20I, Team India came back strongly delivering a strong performance against the home team.
One of the many positives that came out for the Indian team from the match was the innings of Rishabh Pant.
In case you didn't know...
The dashing left-hand batsman has been in a rich vein of form in Test cricket but hasn't been able to perform as per expectations in limited-overs cricket. He has been given ample amount of opportunities in the T20I format but he has failed to cash in. Also, Pant's inclusion in India's World Cup squad is in doubt. However, after the failure in the first T20, Pant scored an unbeaten 40 off just 28 balls and guided the team to victory.
The heart of the matter
Harbhajan Singh, one of India's best off-spinners, felt that MS Dhoni, who was involved in a 44-run partnership with Pant, helped the youngster in playing according to the situation. Pant has been guilty of giving away his wicket by playing rash shots in the past, but MS Dhoni made sure that he played safe shots.
Talking to Sports Tak Harbhajan said, "Rishabh Pant made full use of his opportunity today and batting with MS Dhoni. When he hit a few casual shots, Dhoni walked up to him and explained what he needed to do. After that, he played safer shots, down the ground and hit only the balls which were there to be hit,".
Even though Rishabh Pant was not part of India's ODI side against Australia and New Zealand, Harbhajan still feels that the wicketkeeper-batsman can be a part of the 2019 ICC World Cup squad. The 38-year-old firmly believes that Pant has the potential to deliver on the big stage and can play a huge part in India's World Cup campaign.
Harbhajan added, "every opportunity will take Pant closer to the World Cup squad, especially if he continues to keep scoring like this. I feel he has that X factor which India will need in the World Cup. Pant is someone who can change games,".
Rishabh Pant is far from securing a place in India's World Cup squad but if he can continue playing innings like the one he played in Auckland, he might still make it to the final 15. Pant will get one more chance to put his name in the reckoning for a spot in India's World Cup team in the deciding T20 game against the Kiwis on Sunday