Vikram Rathour talks about the possibility of Rishabh Pant opening the batting in T20Is

Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour recently opened up about the possibility of Rishabh Pant opening the batting in the upcoming T20I series against the West Indies. Rishabh Pant, who is a regular opener when it comes to franchise cricket, recently got an opportunity to open in the ODIs.

The newly-appointed Indian captain Rohit Sharma stunned everyone when he walked out with Rishabh Pant during the second ODI of the three-match series against the West Indies. Pant scored three boundaries and made 18 but he struggled a bit, taking 34 deliveries for his 18. Something which is very unlikely from Rishabh Pant’s bat. While he has performed well as an opener in domestic games as well as franchise cricket, his move to the top didn’t work well for India.

During the post-match presentation, Rohit Sharma spoke about the decision to promote Pant to the top. He said that the team was trying new things, keeping the long-term process in the mind.

Vikram Rathour opines on Rishabh Pant’s possibility of playing as opener

“People will be happy seeing Rishabh open then, but yeah it is not permanent. We will get Shikhar back next game, and he needs some game time. It is not always the results. We want to try a few things with the long term in the mind so we don’t mind if we lose the odd game in the process”, said Rohit.

 Shedding the light on the same topic, Indian batting coach Rathour said that they haven’t decided on the topic and added that they have multiple options available at the moment. 

“We haven’t really decided that yet, we still have a couple of days to go. We had a travel day and rest day, so today we have our first practice day, once we get to look at the wicket and the kind of surface we are playing,” Rathour said during a virtual press conference on Monday.

Rohit Sharma will be opening at one end and for the other, India certainly do have different options. However, the team will miss KL Rahul for the T20I series. Still, the team has multiple openers in their batting order. Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad usually open the innings for their respective teams. It should be noted that India have already tried opening with Venkatesh Iyer too.

“We’ll see, we have options available, KL is out I understand, we have Ishan and Ruturaj in the mix, so we will see,” he added.

Rishabh Pant is a fantastic player- Vikram Rathour

Adding more on the topic, Rathour stressed that Pant is a fantastic batter and they would prefer having him in the lower order as they don’t have many left-handers in the middle order. 

“It’s too far ahead. I don’t know whether I will be part of the side after 2023… As for Rishabh, he is a fantastic player, he can always bat up the order. We have options, but it depends on what the team needs and what we are looking at. I have no doubt that he will be in team post-2023 too but we can utilize him more precisely in the middle order or lower order,” he added.

Rathour was roped in after the exit of Sanjay Bangar in late 2019. He was appointed under the then Indian coach Ravi Shastri. The latter’s coaching stint came to an end recently and Rahul Dravid took over the job. Rathour was handed an extension till the ODI World Cup in India next year despite the departure of all his old troops. 

Pant, on the other hand, became the regular in all three formats recently. In the sample size of matches that are available, one could confirm that Pant’s success in ODIs came when the youngster batted either at no.5 where he averages close to 45 from 7 ODIs.

Despite all these changes, India had managed to wrap the ODI series 3-0. This also marks the first series for India since Rohit Sharma took over the captaincy. Now, the team will move from Ahmedabad to Eden Gardens for three-match T20Is. 

The first of the three-match series will begin on 16th February and now it remains to be seen who will open the innings for India as both Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad are fit and raring to go.