Not only Rishabh Pant was selected in India’s Test eleven in Sydney against Australia, but he was also given a promotion from number 6 to number 5 in the second innings. India’s batting coach, Vikram Rathour reveals that it was indeed Virat Kohli’s idea to give a bat the left-hander at the fall of the third wicket.
Vikram Rathour revealed that before leaving for India after the Adelaide Test, Kohli plotted this tactic in order to keep the left-right combination going. Rishabh Pant batted at No. 5 in the second innings in Sydney and ignited the hope of a victory with his brisk innings of 97 off 118 balls.
“It wasn’t really my call, I cannot take the credit for this. It actually came from Virat, to be honest. That in case we’re playing both the left-handers, it will be a good idea if Pant can be sent at No. 5 to keep the left-right combination,” Vikram Rathour revealed on R Ashwin’s YouTube channel.
I thought we could even send Pant at No. 4: Vikram Rathour
Vikram Rathour, who played for India in 6 Tests and 7 ODIs, says that they went with the idea to bat Pant at 5 not only because of the left-right combination but it also because they sensed a victory in Sydney and wouldn’t want to settle with a draw.
The 51-year-old says that if India would have got a bigger start from the top 3, then he might have contemplated sending the southpaw over Ajinkya Rahane at number 4 – but that didn’t happened. The 23-year-old ended the series as India’s leading run-scorer.
“We debated on this a little further and we discussed with Ajinkya also, if the wicket falls early, will it be a good time to send Pant. We then let him be at No. 6 but then in the second innings, I said boss this is the time he needs to go at No. 5 irrespective of when we lose a wicket because it’s the last innings and we were looking to go for the runs. The intent was not to draw the Test, and till the point we can, we go for the runs. So that was the right time to send him at No. 5,” the batting coach added.
“It was discussed and Ajinkya agreed to send Rishabh at No. 5, it really worked for us. I was actually thinking if we get a really good start, we could even send him at No. 4. But then that didn’t happen,” Vikram Rathour further said.
In Sydney, Pant got out for 97, and the visitors shut-shop – however, in Brisbane the left-hander remained till the end to see of the run chase as India won the series.