12/04/2022
T20 World Cup 2022: Ahead of the last-four game, former India head coach Ravi Shastri said picking Rishabh Pant for the semifinal against England would bring the X-factor.

After Dinesh Karthik was picked ahead of Pant in the first four games the Super 12 stage, Pant made it to the playing XI in India’s final game ahead of the semis. Though wicketkeeper-batter Pant fell for just three in his only appearance in the marquee event in Australia so far, Shastri backed Pant to make it to the playing XI for the all-important semifinal in Adelaide.

The former coach stated that Pant would bring the X-factor in the shorter boundaries of Adelaide Oval.

Rohit Sharma’s men will take on Jos Buttler-led England in the second semifinal on Thursday (Nov. 7) and the former coach said Pant is a match-winner and is the right man for the finisher’s role.

Following India’s final Super 12 game, where the Indian team handed Zimbabwe a crushing 71-run defeat, Shastri, speaking on Star Sports, said though Dinesh Karthik was a lovely team player, it would be better to opt for the left-handed Pant.

“Dinesh (Karthik) is a lovely team player. But when it comes to a game against England or New Zealand, just seeing their attack, I think you need a robust left-hander, who can turn it on and a match winner and a left-hander,” Shastri told Star Sports.

“He has done well against England. He recently won a match on his win against England, a one-day game. I would go with Pant, not just because he played here, but because of the X-factor angle, he can bring to the semi-final.”

Backing his choice to pick Pant ahead of Karthik, the former India all-rounder said, “You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack. If you have too many right-handers, there is a sense of sameness to it. England have a nice attack, a varied attack of left-handers and right-handers.

“You need a left-hander in your team, who can be dangerous and win you a game in the back overs even if you have lost 3 or 4 wickets at the top,” Shastri signed off.

While India will take on England in the second semifinal on Thursday (Nov. 10), New Zealand will take on Pakistan in the first semifinal on Wednesday. (Nov. 9).

Source: With inputs from PTI