Rishabh Pant finally came back amongst the runs in the fourth T20I vs the West Indies on Saturday in Florida, scoring 44 of just 31 deliveries. Pant's knock helped his side set a steep target of 192 for the Windies.
The left-handed batter was under fire for not being able to replicate his long-format exploits in T20I cricket.
Much like his chirpy presence behind the wickets, the nineteen-year-old is not at all monotonous while batting. He dished out one-handed sixes, falling sweeps, and now in the recent fourth T20I against West Indies, an outrageous slap shot against a wide-length delivery.
His stunning shots amazed the viewers and started a meme fest.
Role of finisher
Pant is a rare talent and has the ability to win matches single-handedly. India's search for a number four batter has been a long one, and the management needs to be clear in its strategy for the final XI in the coming T20 World cup.
After the recovery of KL Rahul, he will return to open with Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav could go lower down the order, where he has tasted phenomenal success. With SKY, Hardik, and Dinesh Karthik performing as well as ever, Pant's place may be up in the air after Rahul returns.
The curious case of the opener
He also opened for the team against England, but the experment did not yield favourable result.
Earlier, Sanjay Manjrekar had also supported the move while commentating on Sony six: “The fight for the spots in the middle...it has made that easier. Rishabh Pant is out of that race now. He goes at the top and some people can breathe a little easier now. Suryakumar Yadav played today in the middle-order because Pant could open, otherwise, it would've been difficult for him.”
The left-hand batter has played around 48 T20I innings and scored just 883 runs. He has an average of just 19.1 and a strike rate of barely 125.
He has scored close to 2500 IPL runs with one hundred and 15 fifties for Delhi Capitals in IPL. He was the second highest run-scorer in IPL 2018 by scoring 684 runs at a strike rate of 173.60.
Later, he was appointed as the captain of his team in 2021.
Who's the Competition?
Besides Pant, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan have also proved through their IPL numbers that they can bat as power hitters in T20Is. KS Bharat could also be an out of box option for Team India as he has consistently been churning out runs in domestic cricket.
Although Pant performed well in the third and fourth T20 games against the West Indies, he has to be consistent and stay true to team management's trust in him.