Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. Image-Twitter

India’s Test vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane, opined that wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is a “game-changer”, especially in the shortest format.

The left-hander averaged 34.91 during the IPL 2021, with three fifties. However, he seemed to be bogged down by the captaincy of the Delhi Capitals; his strike rate of 128 reflects the same.

In the warm-up fixture against England, Pant smashed 29 runs in 14 balls and showed signs of returning to his old, destructive self.

Rishabh Pant, T20 World Cup 2021
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ajinkya Rahane, who captained Pant in the historic Test series win in Australia and since the youngster has risen in stature, reckons the southpaw can turn a game on its head in a short amount of time.

“Rishabh Pant is a game-changer. We have seen that in the recent past. In this format, he can change the game immediately,” Ajinkya Rahane said on the Salaam Cricket.

“He has improved significantly and learned how to take his game one notch above,” he added.

We need to back Hardik Pandya: Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane also feels the management and the fans must back Hardik Pandya. There have been concerns regarding Pandya’s bowling fitness – he didn’t ball a single ball in the entire IPL 2021 and in the two warm-up matches as well.

Pandya has been having back injury issues for the last two years and has therefore limited his bowling. However, Rahane stated that the all-rounder needs to be given support as he’s an impactful cricketer.

Hardik Pandya, Indian Bowler
Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)

“We need to back Hardik Pandya, especially when he is coming back from the injury. We should always support a player who is making a comeback after the injury.

“It is easy to talk from the outside, but what that individual is going through, we can’t even feel it. We all should back him; he has been an impactful player for India in the T20 cricket, has won matches for the country.

“There will always be outside news, who should play and who shouldn’t. So Hardik’s role is very crucial,” the 33-year-old said.

India and Pakistan will clash in their opening encounter on October 24 in Dubai. They will then meet New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other teams who will qualify from Round 1 in the Super 12 stage.

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