Is he needed for the fireworks with the bat?
Remember those one handed swats that seemingly slap the cricket ball whilst lifting it several rows into the mid wicket boundary?
Or for some random but funny musings from behind the stumps?
Better still, could it be, most importantly, for letting India’s opponents know that this isn’t a team that’ll accept its opponents’ shenanigans?
Why Rishabh Pant must play in these must- win games for India could actually be because of a combination of all the above.
Moreover, as always, the numbers tell their story and can they even be doubted?
As on date in 2022, Pant has fired 341 runs from just 18 innings, including four not outs and hit those runs at a strike rate of 135 (the best s/r for him in any T20I calendar year having begun in 2017).
If that doesn’t beckon attention, then what will?
Reasons- there are many. Fact is, he must be played against England on November 11.
No fanboy theory this.
But as always, when it’s about Rishabh Pant- gloveman, maybe not Urvashi’s man yet, firestarter, young millionaire with an I don’t care demeanour, fearless to the point of being faulty- things can get a little tasty.
Why the bottle rocket, who’s proven he belongs at the Test level, was hardly given a chance in this T20 World Cup, is already debatable- if not entirely controversial.
His India teammate, Dinesh Karthik, one we fondly and rightly hail for his ‘never say die’ spirit hasn’t quite delivered.
With scores of 1 against Pakistan, 6 against South Africa and 7 versus Bangladesh, the ongoing T20 fiesta in Australia has been miserable for the right handed keeper-bat.
Yet, in keeping Karthik in the side, whose keeping can’t be doubted, the side made a statement and a bold one at that- in ignoring Rishabh Pant.
All this while where the otherwise dependable lower order destroyer with the bat, one loved for his 9-ball-22 against Bangladesh kept failing, Pant cut a quiet figure.
The innocent smile and the fun jokes as per his normal self in the dugout were visible on TV but maybe somewhere deep down inside there must have been an inkling to go out there and blast it out on bowlers as he only can.
But instead of feeling for India’s daring left hander, the fanboys recently did what could only have been expected of them. A very recent typically shallow video that’s surfaced on social media shows Pant carrying team gear from behind the fielding lines with a hideous cricket fan shouting out loud the name, “Urvashi!”
That was in reference to noted film Indian film actor Urvashi Dholakia.
So while those who perhaps will never behave aren’t – and won’t – learn a lesson in making the right call, can Rishabh Pant’s team be expected to do so? India play England on Thursday, i.e., November 10, 2022. A win here is a must for the place in the finals.