Rishabh Pant continues to squander opportunities in international cricket. On Sunday, he failed to get going again as India lost the third T20I against South Africa by nine wickets. Rishabh Pant came out to bat when India were 63 for 2 with both openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan back in the hut.
With form not on his side, Rishabh Pant looked shaky early on as he huffed and puffed to 12 from the first 17 deliveries he faced. He then slog-swept Dwaine Pretorius over the fine-leg boundary. But the youngster could only add more run before holing out to long-off against left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin for 19 off 20 balls.
With Pant’s form now showing absolutely no signs of improvement, there were calls from several quarters to demote him to number five where he could bat more freely. Pant is a natural stroke-maker and sending him down the batting order will just allow him to go for the big shots instead of focusing on building the innings first.
Thus it was surprising to see Pant coming out to bat at number four in the third ODI especially after India lost both of their openers early. Well, it seems like the plan was to send Pant at number five but some miscommunication saw him come out to bat ahead of Shreyas Iyer. Skipper Virat Kohli has revealed that Rishabh Pant was not supposed to bat at No. 4. He also admitted to a “miscommunication” between Pant and Shreyas Iyer, saying the latter was slated to bat at No.4 if India were two down within the 10th over.
“I think there was a miscommunication there,” Kohli said. “That’s what I understood afterwards. The batting coach [Vikram Rathour] had a word with both of them and there was a misunderstanding of who has to go [in] at what stage of the game. So, it was a bit funny afterwards because they both wanted to walk in. It would have been very funny if both had reached the pitch… three batsmen [would have been] in the field. Yeah, I think it was a miscommunication in the middle.
“We had it planned according to phases. So, after 10 overs we decided Rishabh would walk in. Before that Shreyas had to walk in. So, I think both of them got confused and didn’t realise who had to walk in at what stage of the game,” he added.