‘How can you send out-of-form Rishabh Pant ahead of world's No.1 batter?’: Salman Butt on Suryakumar Yadav

Updated on Dec 01, 2022 12:22 PM IST

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was particularly surprised by India's decision to send Pant ahead of in-form Suryakumar Yadav in the ODIs. Apart from the second ODI, which was reduced to 29-overs-a-side, Pant batted ahead of Suryakumar Yadav in the ODI series.

India's Rishabh Pant bats during the third and final one-day international cricket match between New Zealand and India at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Sanka Vidanagama / AFP)(AFP)
India's Rishabh Pant bats during the third and final one-day international cricket match between New Zealand and India at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Sanka Vidanagama / AFP)(AFP)

Rishabh Pant did not have the best of times in New Zealand. That he was the first-choice keeper-batter and not Sanju Samson in both T20Is and ODIs was evident by stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan and acting head coach VVS Laxman words at the end of the three-match ODI series which India lost 1-0. In the four innings that Pant batted in the rain-affected limited-overs tour, he registered scores of 6 and 11 in the T20Is and then managed only 15 and 10 in the ODIs. What would disappoint Pant and the team management is the fact that he failed to get the desired results even after batting at his preferred position in both ODIs and T20Is. He opened the batting in the shortest format of the game while he was given the No.4 slot in the ODIs.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was particularly surprised by India's decision to send Pant ahead of in-form Suryakumar Yadav in the ODIs. Apart from the second ODI, which was reduced to 29-overs-a-side, Pant batted ahead of Suryakumar Yadav in the ODI series.

Also Read | 'ODIs two-and-a-half times the size of T20Is': Shastri's warning for Suryakumar

"He's (Pant) a flashy player, plays with a lot of freedom but he hasn't been able to deliver the kind of performance that was expected of him in the current (New Zealand) series. He should have scored more runs. But I didn't understand why he was batting above Suryakumar Yadav. You are playing an out-of-form batter in place of someone who is in the form of his life and is playing his best cricket. The in-form player should play more overs. He's the No.1 batter and you are sending him below an out-of-form player," said Salman Butt on his YouTube channel after the final ODI of the series ended in a no result due to rain.

The former Pakistan opener said this can have an impact on Suryakumar Yadav's form. The No.1-ranked T20I batter, who smashed a century in the T20I series, was out for 6 and 4 in the two ODIs he batted below Pant.

"I don't know what's going on. This can impact an in-form player. I don't know whether this was the case here or not but a batter who is in the form of his life would want to play more deliveries," he added.

Ahead of the start of the third India vs New Zealand ODI, Pant had said that he prefers to bat at No.4 in ODIs. "I would choose to open in T20Is, number 4-5 in ODIs and in Test I'm batting at 5. Yes, the game plan changes when you're batting lower down the order but at the same time you have to bat where the team wants you to. There's no need to premeditate in ODIs, only in T20s you need to premeditate," he said.

Despite the below-par numbers, Pant has got the backing of the team management. "Of course, Sanju Samson has been doing really well in whatever opportunity he got. But sometimes you've got to wait for your chances, because the other player has done well and we know based on his (Pant's) skill that he's a match-winner. So you need to back him when he's not doing well," said Shikhar Dhawan.

The 25-year-old will be hoping to come good in the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh starting December 4.

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