'He does not fit in number 4 or 5': Ex-India opener voices concerns on Rishabh Pant's form, says best to leave him out
The debate surrounding Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik has been raging since the time the latter re-ignited his career by evolving as a dashing finisher while the former suffered a steep decline in his form in the shortest format of the game. With T20 World Cup less than a month away, Team India has a tough decision to make: whether to play Pant and Karthik in the same XI or in case of choosing one wicketkeeper-batter, who should it be?
Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer chimed in on the debate and he entrusted veteran over the young Pant. Jaffer reckons Pant's marginal returns in the shortest format of the game are enough reason for him to be benched. When it came to picking a left-handed batter, Jaffer picked Axar Patel over Rishabh Pant.
"I think Axar Patel has done really well in recent times, so I don't know why India has not trusted him, because he has won matches with his batting," Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo.
"India need to figure out whether Rishabh Pant plays or not. The Indian thinktank has been thinking a lot about putting Rishabh Pant in. He has been brilliant and we have talked about it many times. In Test cricket and in the ODIs, he has played series-winning, game-changing knocks, but that has not happened in T20 internationals or even in T20s.
"So India need to figure out if they want to stick with Rishabh Pant in the top six or if they want to play Dinesh Karhitk, who has done really well since the Indian Premier League. For me personally, Rishabh Pant does not fit in number 4 or 5. His best place is to open batting, which I don't think will happen. I feel leaving out Rishabh Pant in the World Cup will be the best thing," the former batter concluded," he opined.
For Pant, the two T20I series before the World Cup is going to be crucial. In the three-match T20I series against Australia and then South Africa, the swashbuckling southpaw needs to display his sparkling potential or else he might very well become the second preferred wicketkeeper option behind Karthik.