India have been playing musical chairs with Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant for their last few matches. Karthik started the Asia Cup for India but the moment Ravindra Jadeja was injured, they felt the need for a left-hander and Pant came in for the rest of the tournament. But Karthik was back in the side for the series-opener against Australia. The problematic part for India is that neither Pant nor Karthik have been able to put up a noteworthy performance in the chances that have got recently, making matters difficult for the Indian think tank. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and former Australia opener Matthew Hayden shared their thoughts on the Pant vs Karthik debate and they had contrasting views.
Gavaskar said he sees both Pant and Karthik in India’s XI come the T20 World Cup in Australia next month while Hayden was heavily in favour of Pant mainly because of the bigger grounds in Australia.
“Yeah I see both of them playing. Hardik at 5, Pant at 6 or maybe Pant ahead of Hardik depending on the situation and Karthik at 7,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports ahead of the second India vs Australia T20I in Nagpur.
Hayden, however, believed that Pant’s power-hitting will be more useful for India in the bigger boundaries in Australia where Karthik might struggle to clear the ropes.
“No, I don’t think so. For me personally, it has to be Rishabh Pant. You need to bank on him for the T20 World Cup. If this was a longer version of the game, you might see otherwise. When you are playing in Australian conditions. You want the power. DK is a magnificent player when he can use the pace of the bowler and the pitch but MCG is a big ground. You need a proper monumental hit to clear the ground, especially the square of the wicket. So it’s so key to have power hitters, at least 3-4 players who can hit the ball long. Rishabh has got that versatility. I’d like to see him play more orthodox, he’s been lost in experiments for long now,” the former Australia opener said.
When Gavaskar was asked about the areas Pant needs to work on, the legendary cricketer gave Hardik Pandya’s example and said the left-hander needs to develop his off-side game.
“His offside game. Same with Hardik Pandya as well. Look at how he has developed his off-side game. Bowlers will say he’s got the power, so let’s target his off-side. What Hardik Pandya is doing now is using the pace and hitting over deep point for a six, that’s what Pant has got to do. Pant is a predetermined, premeditated cricketer. He decides quite often what he is going to do before the ball is bowled. That’s why he gets into trouble as he looks for something which is not there,” he added.
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