Matthew Hayden has spoken out in favour of Rishabh Pant's inclusion in the Indian lineup after the wicket-keeper has recently been kept out of the team by Dinesh Karthik. Hayden went on to discuss the current status of the Australia team that is touring India, lauding praise on batsman Josh Inglis.
Exactly one month remains until the first match of the Super 12s stage of the ICC World T20 2022 Down Under as all teams are busy preparing their lineups for the marquee event. The tournament hosts are currently in India for a three-match T20I campaign, the first of which they won on Tuesday in Mohali after chasing down an improbable target of 209. The series is expected to play a crucial role for India in solving the conundrum around the selection of Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik.
Pant has been India's batting spearhead in Tests over the last couple of years and put together some memorable match-winning innings. However, he has failed to show the same pedigree in T20Is, accumulating just 934 runs in 58 games at a rather lowly average of 23.94. The 24-year-old has just three half-centuries to his name, the last of which came in February. Dinesh Karthik, on the other hand, had a tremendous Indian Premier League campaign earlier in the year and has since played 19 out of 21 T20Is for the Men in Blue. He has excelled as a finisher for the side, usurping Pant's place in the XI.
Nevertheless, former Australian opener Matthew Hayden believes Pant's talent warrants him a place in the Indian team no questions asked.
“Rishabh Pant would be picked in every side if I was the selector. He is just the future. He needs to be backed and needs time. Even if it’s through runs or form, he should be there in my opinion. He is a superior player in pretty much every way and aspect," he was quoted saying on air by News18 during the first T20I.
Australia, meanwhile, are running experiments of their own having rested David Warner for the tour while Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh are missing due to injury. Hayden singled out 27-year-old Josh Inglis as an exciting talent to look forward to, following the explosive batter's entry into the T20I side earlier this year.
“They are a depleted side but the reality of it is that they have got to dig deep. We have got to look towards what is next in the line-up. Young Inglis is such an exciting and young player. He is almost like a mirror-image of David Warner. He is a right-handed version. He cuts, he pulls, he lays back and when it comes his way, he hits it through the on-side. He is also a very good powerful player," Hayden concluded.