India vs New Zealand: What is the ideal batting position for Rishabh Pant in T20Is? Wasim Jaffer answers
After crashing out of the recently-concluded T20 World Cup, semi-finalists India have been forced to think of rejigging the team. With Hardik Pandya, who will captain the young and amateur Indian side against New Zealand in the absence of Rohit Sharma, India continues to grapple with finding an explosive opener. Although Shubhman Gill and Ishan Kishan are drawn in as the designated openers, former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer believes that it is Rishabh Pant who should open the innings alongside Gill.
"I don't think Rishabh has batted there (finisher). He has batted at No. 4 or No. 5 even for the Delhi Capitals, but those places are sealed by Surya and Hardik. I feel that when the field is up and if Rishabh Pant gets going then he is a dangerous player. His best position is at the top of the order." Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo ahead of the 1st T20I between India and New Zealand.
Forecasting India’s playing XI against the Kiwis, the Ranji great stated that Pant is one such player who after getting his eye in can get the team off to a flying start. He also said that in the T20 World Cup in Australia, Pant was overlooked by the Indian brain trust.
"Once he gets a start and is 20-30 not out in the powerplay then he is dangerous. Then even if the fielders are out, it doesn't matter to him. But when he comes to bat at No. 5, the field is already out and the pressure is on him. It is difficult for him to hit sixes straightaway. He is such a player from whom you can expect a blistering start," Jaffer added.
Wasim Jaffer’s Indian XI for 1st T20I vs New Zealand on Friday, 18 November:
Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (C), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Harshal Patel, Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh