World Cup 2019: Should India drop Rishabh Pant against New Zealand in the first semi-final?
We are only three games away from crowning the winner of the 12th edition of ICC Cricket World Cup. India will face New Zealand in the first semi-final on Tuesday (July 9). Meanwhile, the defending Champions Australia will face their archrivals England in the second semi-final on Thursday (July 11).
In the league stage, India topped the points table by winning seven out of their nine games. With their league game against New Zealand washed out, India remains the only team to lose just a single match in the tournament so far.
In the batting department, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli have consistently fired in the entire tournament. The bowling department, led by Jasprit Bumrah, complemented the efforts of their batsmen by doing their job to perfection.
The middle-order still has been an area of concern for the Men in Blue. Since Kedar Jadhav completely lost his touch, Dinesh Karthik replaced him and played the last two league matches. Besides, Rishabh Pant played instead of the injured all-rounder Vijay Shankar in the previous three games.
Among the four middle and lower order batsmen (Pant, Dhoni, Karthik, and Pandya) in the current lineup, Pant looks like the weakest link. With very less international experience and a free-style batting approach, Pant’s inclusion in the playing XI could turn out to be a double-edged move.
Though Pant is considered the successor of Dhoni, he still has a long way to go to cement his place in the international arena. Even though his fearless batting approach has brought him success in the T20 format, he cannot follow the same path in ODIs.
Since the role of a middle-order batsman will always vary based on the pitch conditions and scoreboard, Pant should not be attacking the ball from the word go in every game. Besides, he frequently tends to lose his wicket at wrong junctures. During IPL 2019, Pant threw away his wicket often and failed to help his team cross the final line so many times. Even in India’s last league game against Sri Lanka, he played a needless, reckless shot and lost his wicket. In the Bangladesh game, he once again got out at a wrong time after scoring 48 runs.
Since the stakes are very high in the semi-final, Pant’s careless batting approach can land India in trouble in the semi-final. Hence, it is wise for India to drop Pant in the all-important clash against New Zealand. In the place of Pant, India can increase their bowling options by including an extra bowler. India can also look to play Jadeja who was economical with the ball against Sri Lanka and will also add depth to the batting.
Also read – World cup winners list