Piyush Chawla believes that India’s recent move to open the innings with Rishabh Pant was to give him a free hand to play his aggressive brand of cricket. Chawla also added that Pant needs to convert his red-ball form into white-ball cricket and score runs consistently in ODIs as well as T20Is.
India won the three-match T20I series by 2-1 on Sunday against England. Rishabh Pant played the last two games of the series and he opened the innings along with Rohit Sharma in a surprising move. Pant has batted in the middle order for most of his career but he provided aggressive starts to the Indian team in the last two games.
Former India spinner Piyush Chawla is of the opinion that the team might have opted for this opening pair to support Pant’s aggressive brand of cricket.
"Maybe just trying to give him that free hand because we've seen that in the last few games in white-ball cricket, he didn't get too many runs. Although he was brilliant in red-ball, but he needs to get that form going in white-ball cricket," Chawla said on ESPNcricinfo.
"That could be the reason because when you go and open the innings and if the first ball is in his arc, he is ready to go for it when the field is up. So I think that kind of role they have given to Rishabh Pant - 'go and express yourself'. That's what his game is all about. With fielders inside the ring, it becomes a little free hand for him. So that could be the reason they sent Rishabh Pant to open the innings.”
It will be now interesting to see whether the team will go with the same strategy in upcoming T20I games as KL Rahul’s return will make the choice of opening duo critical.