Virender Sehwag rates Rishabh Pant's chances as Team India opener Photograph:( AFP )
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag feels Rishabh Pant will be successful in opening the innings for Team India.
Many had their doubts over Rishabh Pant and whether he would be able to replace MS Dhoni across formats, after the veteran's retirement. While Pant took some time to take off in all forms of the game, the 24-year-old has now come to his own and made the wicketkeeper's slot his own in every format.
Filling in for Dhoni can never be easy for anyone, be it in IPL or for Team India, however, Pant is slowly making his own identity as an explosive middle-order batter for the national side (and also for his IPL franchise, i.e. the Delhi Capitals). Ahead of India's next assignment, which will be a five-match T20I series at home versus South Africa in early June, former Indian opener Virender Sehwag feels Pant can be more successful as an opener.
Sehwag told Sports 18, "We don’t play limited-overs to score 50 or 100 but to score at a brisk pace, no matter the situation or the opposition,” Sehwag told Sports 18, “At no. 4 or 5, he will find himself in situations that demand greater responsibility, but if he opens, he will be far more successful."
Pant has 1,920 runs in 30 Tests and has been more successful in whites. In limited-overs, he has 715 and 683 runs in ODIs and T20Is, respectively.
Sehwag also opined that Prithvi Shaw and Pant will form a daunting par for India in Tests and can help the team dominate the red-ball format. In this regard, he stated, "He (Prithvi Shaw) is a player who can bring back the excitement in Test cricket." Sehwag added, "Opposition will have to think if 400 would be enough with Shaw and Pant in our ranks. Shaw and Pant in one team could help India rule Test cricket and win the World Test Championship."
Currently, Pant and Shaw are part of the DC franchise in the IPL 2022 edition. Pant & Co. are alive in the playoffs race and need to win against Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last league stage encounter to confirm a spot in the playoffs.