Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has said that India will look forward to carry the same template forward if the experiment to Rishabh Pant works after he opened the innings in the second ODI. Pant scored 18 runs from 34 balls and was dismissed on a short pitched delivery from Odean Smith.
India are playing the second ODI of a three-match series against West Indies in Ahmedabad. West Indies won the toss and opted to bowl first in the fixture. India experimented with the opening pair of Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma which raised many eyebrows.
It was a surprising move as Pant was preferred to open while players like Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mayank Agarwal are in contention for the opening spot. However, the move failed as the left-hander was dismissed on 18 runs trying to play a pull on a short delivery outside off-stump from Odean Smith.
Former India cricketer said that India will look forward to continuing opening the innings with Pant if the experiment works for them.
"The first 10 overs is where India have been a bit slow in the past. They are looking to take advantage of the field restrictions in the first 10 overs. They are clearly looking to score maybe 60-70. That is what they are looking for. This is an experiment, make no mistake. If it works, that is the template that they will like to carry forward as they go on to the World Cup in India next year." Gavaskar said while commentating on Star Sports.
"It's something that will certainly look at. What it does also, if India are batting first, it will give him some time to recover. If he gets out in the 30th or 40th over, having done his job, he will get a little bit of break when he comes out to keep wickets."
Pant was batting at number 4 in the recent ODI series against South Africa. Gavaskar feels that the team management wants to give him a sense of responsibility at the top of the order.
"It's may also mean they (the team management) is looking to give him a sense of responsibility at the top of the order. We have seen him charge down the pitch and get out in the past. Sending him up the order is a way of maybe telling him, 'listen we expect more runs from you'. We will find out how it all pans out," Gavaskar said.
India also lost Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with scores of 5 and 18 in the innings.