With Dhoni and Jadhav unable to provide the impetus, Harish Kotian believes India need a big-hitting batsman like Rishabh Pant to seize the initiative.
IMAGE: Rishabh Pant scored 488 runs in 16 games at a strike rate of 162 in the IPL for the Delhi Capitals this year, also scoring impressive Test centuries in England and Australia. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
The narrow win against Afghanistan has surely thrown a few question marks about Team India who looked like they could do no wrong in their first three games.
Shikhar Dhawan’s pulling out of the World Cup has been a huge blow for India as he has performed quite consistently at ICC tournaments.
Shikhar’s withdrawal has compelled India to draw up new plans as far as their team combination is concerned.
India had a ready replacement in opener K L Rahul who was initially drafted in at No 4 for a couple of games before switching over to the top to take over from Dhawan.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar was originally picked as the No 4 for the World Cup, but he is yet to impress. He struggled against Afghanistan, scoring a painstaking 29 from 41 balls against the Afghanistan attack.
And Captain Kohli didn’t trust Shankar enough with the ball in the low-scoring encounter against Afghanistan.
The all-rounder also struggled to get the big hits during his brief 15-ball 15 against Pakistan when he failed to get the boundaries in the death overs. He also could not get the singles initially to hand the strike back to the well-set Kohli.
So is Shankar the right man to bat at the No 4 position? Should India bring in Rishabh Pant, who is capable of winning matches on his own?
Pant’s exclusion from the World Cup side generated debate across the cricketing world, given how he has taken apart bowlers in the IPL in the last couple of years.
The 21 year old scored 488 runs in 16 games at a strike rate of 162 in the IPL for the Delhi Capitals earlier this year, also scoring impressive Test centuries in England and Australia.
Shankar struggled in the IPL. He scored 244 runs in 15 games for the Sunrisers Hyderabad at a strike rate of 126 and took just one wicket.
India could test the waters by giving Pant a go against the West Indies pace attack.
When he gets going, Pant is capable of destroying bowling attacks on his own. He has the ability to bat in the middle order and also lower down the order, when quick runs are needed.
With Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav unable to provide the impetus, India need a big-hitting batsman like Pant to seize the initiative.
It looks unlikely that India will drop Shankar for the Windies game, but another failure could pave the way for Pant.
Kohli and Head Coach Ravi Shastri haven’t shied away from taking tough decisions. So will they bring in Pant for the final games of the league stages?
Should India bring in Pant to replace Shankar? Please vote below: