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How India is gearing up for T20 World Cup...

Source: PTI
February 19, 2022 11:47 IST
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'We're trying out several options; whatever seems right for the team eventually will be final.'

India's wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant walks back after scoring an unbeaten 52 off 28 balls during the second T20 International against the West Indies, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on Friday.

IMAGE: India's wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant walks back after scoring an unbeaten 52 off 28 balls during the second T20 International against the West Indies, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

India wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant says the team is looking at exploring as many options as possible in the build-up to the T20 World Cup, in Australia, from October 16 to November 13.

Pant, who was appointed vice-captain for the ongoing T20 series against the West Indies in the absence of K L Rahul, smashed a brisk half-century in the team's win in the second T20 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday night.

 

Asked about India’s plans for the T20 World Cup in Australia, the 24-year-old said said, "There's still time for the World Cup, so the plan is to try out as many options as possible.

"We are trying to find out which positions suit whom and how they can benefit the team. So we're trying out several options; whatever seems right for the team eventually will be final."

In the absence of the rested pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, seamer Harshal Patel held his nerve to help India emerge triumphant after West Indies big hitter Rovman Powell threatened to take the game away with back-to-back sixes in the final over.

Pant said the plan was to keep the ball outside off-stump.

"After getting hit for two sixes, the talk was to try bowling outside off, but then he ultimately backed himself.

"There's obviously pressure in the game, but, as individuals, we tend to focus on our skill rather than thinking too much," Pant added.

With the injury-prone Hardik Pandya unavailable, India are also looking to use seam-bowling all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer as a finisher.

Venkatesh, who caught the selectors' eye after impressing as an explosive opener for Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE leg of the IPL 2021, played an 18-ball 33-run cameo on Friday.

He and Pant put on an entertaining 76-run partnership from 35 balls to lift India's total to 186 for 5.

"Yes, in the IPL he opened for KKR, but we can't be thinking too much about that. In the Indian team we are just trying to find different positions for different people. He used to play down the order (for Madhya Pradesh).

"When you come down the order, you know the situation. He (Venkatesh) is someone who reads the situation really well. He is a mature cricketer," said Pant.

Asked about their match-turning partnership after Virat Kohli (52) departed in the middle overs, Pant said the plan was simple.

"We talked about keeping it simple and not trying too many things. The plan was simple, see the ball, hit the ball."

Asked how secure he's feeling batting at No. 5, he replied: "It's all about the team plan. As an individual I can't think about whether I've to secure this place or that place.

"I have to do whatever the team needs from me. It's about keep improving each and every day."

India now have another spin option in 21-year-old Ravi Bishnoi. The googly specialist returned match-winning figures of 2 for 17 on debut in the first T20I.

In the second T20I, he took 1 for 30, and Pant was seen constantly egging on the youngster from behind the stumps.

"For a newcomer in the team, it's all about giving him confidence. The more you give him confidence, talk to him about what he feels as an individual, all these are important.

"Yes we can give our plans, but for a bowler, it's very important to know what he feels, especially for a youngster who has just come into the team. So if we give him the confidence and let him have his own plan, then he will also learn more."

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