Pant might be needed in games ahead, hints Dravid

MELBOURNE: Rishabh Pant’s disappointing outing against Zimbabwe isn’t a cause of concern for head coach Rahul Dravid, who hinted that the flamboyant left-hander could start in the T20 World Cup semifinal against England at Adelaide on Thursday.
Pant didn’t get a look in in the first four games where veteran Dinesh Karthik, who in all likelihood is playing his last global meet, was assigned the role of a finisher.
With Karthik not being able to deliver on bowler friendly Australian tracks, Pant is back in equation.
“I don’t think we judge people on one game, and sometimes whether we play them or not is not based on one game,” Dravid said after India’s 71 run victory in which Pant’s contribution was a mere three.
After that, Dravid gave good enough indication that decision to field Pant wasn’t taken in isolation as the coach was potentially looking at a match up with leg spinner Adil Rashid in the semifinals.
“Sometimes it’s just matchups. We need to look at what are the skills we might need against the kind of bowlers we might come up against. So a lot of things go into these kind of decisions,” said Dravid.
He also firmly reiterated that team management had never lost faith in Pant.
“Yeah, in a sense it’s not that we ever lost confidence in Rishabh. We’ve got confidence in all of our 15 players who play here. It’s only 11 guys who can play, and it depends on the combinations that you have.
“The very fact that they are here and they’re part of the World Cup means that we have a lot of confidence in them. It means that anytime they can be called on to play in the XI.
“Yes, you can only play 11 at a time and some people sometimes miss out and don’t have to play, but again, Rishabh is someone that as a lot of you would have been seeing, has been travelling with us.
“He’s been batting a lot in the nets, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, doing a lot of fielding practice and sort of keeping practice and keeping himself ready. The opportunity came for us today (Sunday) to give him an opportunity,” he reasoned.
In fact, Dravid was happy about Pant’s intent against left arm spinner Sean Williams but the execution was wrong.
“Obviously, it didn’t kind of work out today, but absolutely no — I’m not bothered about that at all because I think he took the right option.
“His role was to take on the left-arm spinner which was there, and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Pant being a left hander also gives the team variations among specialist batters.
“Sometimes it gives us the opportunity, as well, to play Rishabh, keeping obviously this game in mind as well but just keeping the future in mind, just opening up our options.


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