Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has said that Risabh Pant should be Team India's wicketkeeper for this year's T20 World Cup.
Shastri said during an interview with ESPNcricinfo that he chose Pant for his track record in Australia.
“Just his track record in Australia… given what he has done there, I won’t even think of anyone else except Rishabh Pant. At No. 6… he (Dinesh Karthik) is the second pick. Because Rishabh Pant will bat in the middle order,” Shastri said.
Shastri said Dinesh Karthik could be a second option should the team need someone batting at no. 6.
“But in conditions that exist in Australia where you need a finisher at the back, batting at No.6, then on current form, he [Karthik] would be the second keeper. If you see his form now and his maturity and the way he has been finishing games, then you go on the current form,” he said.
Karthik and Pant are both part of the Indian team for the upcoming 5-match T20I series against South Africa. India also has KL Rahul to fill in as the reserve wicketkeeper.
Shastri's opinion on opening slot
Shastri also expressed disagreement with Rohit Sharma's decision to have Suryakumar Yadav for the opening slot in the T20I format.
Sharma’s decision to open with Yadav has not been well accepted by experts and veterans. Shastri said that it was better to open the game with someone “who is a certainty”.
Yadav recently became the seventh batter to open for India in 2022 in the T20I format, and he only managed to score 35 runs in 21 balls across two innings.
“Suryakumar is a certainty in the side. Bat him in the number he will bat at in the World Cup. And because if Rohit is opening the batting he will open with KL Rahul when he is back. If you want to give an opportunity to someone else, give to someone you want to check out. A guy who is a certainty, if you have decided where he is going to bat in the World Cup, bat him there. Don't tinker around,” Shastri said.
“Let him go in different situations, maybe two wickets down early or have to bat 5 or six overs but let him bat where he should bat, even then be flexible if need be. Suryakumar is in the form of his life at that middle-order position and he knows how to bat there as opposed to a lot of other players. He bats long at that number which many cannot do and his strike rate is excellent. At the top Rishabh Pant can be given a go.”
India has done many experiments on the T20I side in 2022. The opening slot is considered to be the least concerning, making it one of the most frequently experimented with.
Previously, Rohit tried Ishan Kishan in the position. He ended the most appearances and most runs in 2022. While he has been considered to perform well in the white-ball squad after IPL 2022, India remains to continue to try various options.