Indian batsman Rishabh Pant, wicketkeeper, was surprised on Wednesday June 8 when he was named captain of the Indian cricket team just a day before the start of the T20I series against South Africa at home. KL Rahul had been named team captain in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma. However, Rahul was ruled out of the five-game series due to injury on Wednesday paving the way for Pant to be named captain.
Pant, who is part of the Indian team’s management group under Captain Rohit, will now have the chance to lead the team for the first time in his career. Pant has never captained the Indian team, but has captained Delhi Capitals (DC) for two seasons in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has significant experience behind his back.
Reacting to his appointment as captain of the Indian team, Pant said it was a good feeling overall, but he wished the announcement had come under better circumstances. Rahul and spinner Kuldeep Yadav have been ruled out of the series due to injuries which is a blow for the Indian team ahead of the T20I series against Proteas.
“It’s a very good feeling, I didn’t come in very good circumstances but at the same time I feel happy. I want to thank BCCI for giving me this opportunity to lead the Indian side. I will try to make the most of it. Thank you to all my supporters for supporting me on my journey through the thick and thin of my cricketing career. I will seek to make this a foundation and continue to improve and make my life better and better every day,” Pant said at a press conference ahead of the first ODI on Wednesday.
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With Rahul more in the order of things, India is left with fewer options besides command. While Shikhar Dhawan is not in the squad, Rohit has been rested and Rahul is now ruled out leaving India with just two specialist fly-halfers in Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Venkatesh Iyer hasn’t had a great season with KKR in IPL 2022 as an opener and he’s unlikely to have a chance at the top against Proteas. Asked about the change in batting order in Rahul’s absence, Pant admitted that India don’t have many options at the top and it remains to be seen which combination will be best for the hosts.
“I think there wouldn’t be much change in the batting order because KL would have opened. We don’t have many openings, we’ll discuss that after a while,” Pant said.
Read also : Rishabh Pant to lead India in T20I series against SA after KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav ruled out with injury
The substitute skipper also hinted at a change in India’s strategy and approach when it comes to T20 cricket. Pant said the hosts are looking to play another brand of cricket with the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia not far away now.
“I think as a team we have thought about some goals that we want to achieve as a team. At the end, we have the World Cup behind our heads and we are preparing for it. In the next few days, you will see there will be changes and how we play cricket I guess,” added Pant.
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Post expires at 6:04pm on Saturday June 18th, 2022