India go into the third T20I against South Africa on Tuesday facing a must-win situation. Rishabh Pant-led India were not at their best in the first two matches, and ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Pant, who was named stand-in captain on the eve of the series after KL Rahul was ruled out with a groin injury, has also looked off-colour with the bat. In the two innings so far, Pant has scored 29 and 5 so far. For someone of his experience, former Indian cricket team batter Wasim Jaffer feels Pant needs to learn the tricks of T20s in a far better way.
“We know Pant likes to play that one way – that he comes out and attacks. Every time he is just rotating strike, plays the wickets….or the situation, he is not best at it. Every time we have seen him do well, win games for India, he has come out and started attacking. He does get out and does look foolish at times,” Wasim Jaffer said in a discussion on ESPNCricinfo,
“But I have said this before that No. 5 or No. 6 is the best position for him. I would have liked Hardik Pandya to bat at No. 4 because he has done such a good job in the IPL and Pant to come in when probably seven or eight overs are left just to come out and start attacking. I think that is probably the best position for him. He does need to go through this series to find out, whether you know, his is the job for the future. We have seen that he hasn’t had the best of times in certain games. He needs to find out. I have said this many times before, he hasn’t cracked the code in T20s. He has definitely done that in Tests and ODIs. He has won India matches singlehandedly in those but he has not done that quite often in T20Is or even in the IPL. He needs to find a method.”
In another video, also on ESPNcricinfo, Jaffer said on Pant that: “Yes, we have seen that thing, even in the IPL. Somewhere down the line I think, the more he leads, the better he will become. But currently, at This stage, I think that when the match becomes tight, he panics a little bit,” Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo during an interview.
“To some extent, the series is out of India’s hands. Because if you are trailing 2-0 in a five-match series, if in any of the next matches there is even small deficiencies then… I think India will have to play brilliant cricket from hereon. Irrespective of the toss, an above-par score should be made.”
Clearly, Pant has some distance to go to impress Jaffer.
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