Team India on Wednesday made one of the most surprising changes to its batting order in the second ODI against the West Indies in Ahmedabad. With the return of KL Rahul into the mix, the fans expected him to open with his skipper Rohit Sharma. However, what everyone witnessed was something never seen before.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant walked out with Rohit to open the innings after the visitors won the toss and opted to bowl. However, the new pair failed to leave any major impact as Rohit was out early, after scoring just 5 runs, while Pant was dismissed for 18.
Sharing his thoughts on Pant getting promoted up the order, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said the management might have made the decision in order to get a quickfire start inside the first Powerplay.
“I think the thinking behind it was the first 10 overs. It’s where India sometimes don’t score as many as they should be. So, they could have sent Rishabh Pant so that he could take advantage of the field restrictions. This is an experiment. Make no mistake. If it works, it can be a template they would like to carry forward as they go on to the World Cup in India next year. It’s something that they would certainly look at,” Gavaskar said while commentating.
The cricketer-turned-commentator further said that Pant opening could have been a part of the think tank’s plan of infusing more responsibility in the youngster.
“What is interesting is who is going to be the finisher? I was thinking that maybe they would be looking at Pant as the finisher where he has the license to throw his bat at just about every delivery that he gets to face. Maybe also I think that this move is to give him a sense of responsibility. We have often seen him charge down the pitch first ball and get out. So, maybe sending him up the order is a way to tell him… ‘listen, we expect runs from you’. So, it’s like giving him a sense of responsibility,” said Gavaskar.