With the Super 12s now over, the entire focus of the Indian team shifts to the semi-final clash against England in the T20 World Cup 2022. Barring the game against South Africa, India have been putting in exemplary performances throughout the tournament, with Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav being the top top-performers with the bat. But, coming into the crucial battle against Jos Buttler‘s men, former India head coach Ravi Shastri wants the team to make one change in the batting order.
So far, veteran wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik has been preferred behind the stumps, primarily due to his ‘finishing’ abilities. Pant was given the nod in the match against Zimbabwe but he failed to make the opportunity count, departing for a meager 3 off 5 balls.
Yet, Shastri wants Pant to replace Karthik against England, especially because of the southpaw’s past performances against the opposition.
“Dinesh is a lovely team player. But when it comes to a game against England or New Zealand, just seeing their attack, I think you need a robust left-hander who can turn it on, and is a match-winner and a left-hander,” Shastri told the broadcaster Star Sports after India’s victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Highlighting Pant’s impressive knocks against England, Shastri said: “He has done well against England. He recently won a match on his win against England, a one-day game. I would go with Pant, not just because he played here, but because of the X-factor angle, he can bring to the semi-final.”
Shastri also said that the fact that Pant is a left-hander, could also prove to be an important factor for India because of the short square boundaries in Adelaide, where the match will be held on Thursday.
“You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack. If you have too many right-handers, there is a sense of sameness to it. England have a nice attack, a varied attack of left-handers and right-handers.
“You need a left-hander in your team, who can be dangerous and win you a game in the back overs even if you have lost 3 or 4 wickets at the top,” Shastri asserted.
While Pant failed to perform against ZImbabwe, Karthik has been poor with the bat in the other games, scoring 1, 6, and 7 in the three matches where he got the opportunity to bat.
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