"He is an X-factor, India needs him vs ENG" -Ex-IND head coach Ravi Shastri suggests an important change in playing XI
India has reached the semi-finals of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia after topping their group with four wins out of five. They thrashed Zimbabwe in their last group match by 71 runs on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Indian batting, led by Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, has done well in the tournament so far. KL Rahul has also registered two successive half centuries in the last two games. On the other hand, the bowlers also did well in the last game. But now, they will face the strongest team of the competition in the semis.
India will lock horns with England in the second semi-final on Thursday, November 10 at the Adelaide Oval. That will be the toughest challenge for India if they want to progress to the final. That means India will have to pick their best possible XI to put up a challenge.
Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has shared his opinion on the upcoming England clash. He has suggested that India pick Rishabh Pant over veteran Dinesh Karthik in the playing XI.
India rested DK in the match against Zimbabwe, and Pant played as a wicketkeeper in the team. However, he couldn't do much with the bat and scored only 3 runs off 5 balls. He tried to smash the spinner Sean Williams for a six but was held on the boundary by an incredible diving catch by Ryan Burl.
Later, head coach Rahul Dravid backed Pant, saying that he was now worried about his dismissal because it was the right batting approach for him against a left-arm bowler. Dravid also stated that the team has full faith in Pant, despite his sitting on the bench for the first four games.
After the win against Zimbabwe, Ravi Shastri highlighted that Pant's inclusion will help India tackle England's bowling attack in Adelaide with short boundaries. He also said that against England, DK might not be that useful as the left-hander in the team.
Shastri said, "Pant recently won a match on his win against England. 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. You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack."
Shastri also said that the current Indian team has all the right-handers in it and that is when you need a left-hander in your top five, who can bat early if the wicket goes and also score quickly in the end.
On the other hand, India went with Karthik as the finisher in the team. But the veteran wicketkeeper hasn't lived up to expectations so far. He has scored 14 runs in four games. Shastri concluded by saying that England are mostly dependent on Adil Rashid in their middle overs, and that is the time when a left-hander can tackle him.