Border-Gavaskar Trophy: The Indian Cricket Team is eyeing its second consecutive World Test Championship Final berth as Rohit Sharma's team sit at the second spot in WTC 2021-23 points table. The Men in Blue were the runners-up in 2021, falling at the final hurdle to New Zealand. As India look to cement their place in another WTC final, clearing the Australian hurdle will be a mandatory task for Rohit Sharma's men at home. Meanwhile, India are missing the services of Rishabh Pant and former Australian great Ian Chappell understands the hole left by Pant's absence.
Former Aussie legend Chappell has opened up on how the Indian team will be impacted by Rishabh Pant's absence. Writing in his column for ESPNCricinfo, Chappell stated that India will have to prove some points, including how Pant's replacement performs. "India also have some points to prove, not the least to do with how Pant's replacement performs. The main thing India will lose from Pant's unavailability is an excellent run rate, which came from his belligerent aggression," he said.
The Aussie added, "No one can replace Pant's desire to dominate bowlers, so India have to rely on their top batters not only performing but also maintaining a good strike rate."
Notably, Australia have a big weapon in the spin department in the form of Nathan Lyon and Chappell thinks the Aussie spinner's battle with Indian batters will be key. "One of the main tasks for Indian players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will be to establish mental superiority over Lyon. If Australia can't rely on Lyon claiming regular wickets at an acceptable rate, their bowling will then depend greatly on the big three," he said.
Rishabh Pant, who suffered a serious car accident last month, is undergoing treatment and is set to miss cricket for a few months. India roped in Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as two wicket-keeping options in the first two Test matches against Australia. The opening test will be played in Nagpur on February 9.