Rishabh Pant finally got a game in the T20 World Cup when he played against Zimbabwe but suspense remains if he will keep the wickets against England in the semifinal or Dinesh Karthik will be back in the side.
During the 2019 ODI World Cup, India didn’t have a settled number four batter and in the ongoing T20 World Cup, the never-ending debate is about whether Pant should come ahead of Karthik in the playing XI.
Rohit Sharma said playing Pant against Zimbabwe was a tactical move, keeping in mind the semifinal, but the skipper was non-committal when asked who will keep the wickets on Thursday.
“Considering that we were not knowing which team we would be playing in the semis before that Zimbabwe game, we wanted to give a left-hander an opportunity to counter some of the spinners who bowled in the middle for New Zealand and England,” Rohit explained the reason behind Pant’s inclusion.
“And we thought Rishabh was the guy for us to go and give him some time, as well. But again, what is going to happen tomorrow, I won’t be able to tell you right now,” he said.
“To be honest, not really worried, as such, because he (Axar) hardly got to bowl in this tournament. Except for that game against Netherlands, he’s not bowled full overs of his quota, only because of the conditions that has to offer.
“We’ve got four seamers who have particularly bowled all of their quota, which means the spinners will not bowl their overs. If you look at the conditions, except Sydney, all the grounds we’ve played had a lot to offer to the seamers, which means we never got an opportunity to bowl Axar in the powerplay, which is his specialty,” he said.
Rohit also made it clear that he won’t dump Axar for having one bad tourney.
“And that is exactly what we want when you’re about to play a game like that.”
While he defended Axar, Wednesday’s training session had enough indications that Deepak Hooda can’t be completely ruled out considering that he’s a far more accomplished batter, who can also chip in with an odd over if required.
Virat Kohli sustained a nasty blow in the groin area during Wednesday’s net session when Harshal Patel bowled but the team heaved a sigh of relief as the master batter was back to the nets within a few minutes.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, who got hit on the right forearm on Tuesday, confirmed that he is fully fit.
“I was hit yesterday but it seems to be fine now. There was a little bruising, but it’s absolutely fine now,” Rohit said.