Rishabh Pant could not find a place in the playing XI as India beat Pakistan in a low-scoring thriller in their Asia Cup clash on Sunday. The wicketkeeper-batter was left on the bench with KL Rahul returning to the side, while Dinesh Karthik was handed the responsibility behind the stumps. Former India player and selector, Saba Karim, said that it seems like there is no place for the flamboyant southpaw in India’s playing XI at the moment, but was left wondering why the management would leave out an “X-Factor” player like Pant.
“I think at least for the Asia cup, the Indian team management seems to have decided to have Dinesh Karthik and that is why they want to utilise Ravindra Jadeja as a floater. So, we saw him going up the order at number 4 in the last outing and we may see that happen more often as the game progresses because Jadeja brings a different kind of dimension,” Saba Karim told Sports18.
“Also, he’s become such a mature left-hand bat who can bat up the order at number 4 or number 5 and if there’s an opportunity, he can also come down the order and score quick runs. So, which means that as of now there’s no place for Rishabh Pant in the 11,” he went on to say.
“But having said that I do believe that Rishabh Pant is such an X-Factor. He can win you games from situations where the team has got no chance whatsoever. So why would you want to keep someone like Rishabh Pant out of the 11?” Saba Karim asked.
Karim said that Pant needs to better his numbers in T20Is, but said the kind of form he has shown in Tests and ODIs means he can add value in the shortest format as well.
“That is the conundrum which Rishabh Pant needs to come out of. But lately one has seen those glimpses of the kind of form he’s exhibited in Test matches. We saw him play a blinder of on innings in one day against England. And similarly, there have been some great performances,” Saba Karim said.
“Maybe not on a consistent basis, but I do believe that there’s still so much for Rishabh Pant to learn in T20 cricket. He’s become a much better player now, but I think with more exposure one can see Rishabh Pant growing in confidence and adding far more value to this T20 side also,” he said.
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