Former wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel acknowledged an improvement in Rishabh Pant‘s captaincy during the third T20I between India and South Africa on June 14 in Vishakapatnam. The Delhi cricketer registered his first win as India’s captain following two defeats earlier in the series.
Losing the toss for the third successive time, India were put into bat by Temba Bavuma. Scoring 179 in the first innings, Rishabh Pant made amends by rallying the bowling attack to defend the total. The wicket-keeper used the bowlers well, especially the spinners en route to the 48-run win.
Speaking about the captaincy in tonight’s encounter, Parthiv Patel said on Cricbuzz:
“His bowling changes were much better today. Whenever it seemed like South Africa were building a partnership, Chahal was brought into the attack. He gave Axar Patel an over today on the sticky surface as well. Rishabh Pant did many things right today and the result is evident.”
The former U19 World Cup member was initially named as vice-captain for the home series. However, a late injury blow to KL Rahul meant that the 24-year-old wicketkeeper-batter was handed the opportunity to lead Team India for the first time.
Using five pure bowlers to defend the total in the third T20I, the stand-in captain employed a different strategy as opposed to the initial contests.
Claiming the presence of the sixth bowler to be absolutely necessary, Patel said:
“You have to take a cushion in T20 cricket in terms of bowling attack. When these five bowlers don’t work out, you have an option in the form of Hardik Pandya. That is a good sign for Indian cricket because he is such a bowler who can give 4 overs.”
Coming on the back of an imperious title win with the Gujarat Titans (GT), Hardik Pandya has been used at No.5 in the batting unit where he has scored a couple of crucial cameos. With the ball, he has bowled four overs in the series, with no wickets to his name.
“It is quite relaxing for Pant to know that there is a sixth bowling option” – Ashish Nehra
Pant’s bowling changes in the third T20I were not as haphazard as they were in the first two matches. The match situation played a role as India were never under pressure while defending the total and did not require the services of Pandya with the ball.
Opining that it would be unfair to drop Avesh Khan after a victorious outing, former bowler Ashish Nehra said during the same interaction:
“There were plenty of dot balls. Avesh Khan has not been able to show his potential with the way he has been used. It needs to be seen if Arshdeep will be brought in place of him. But it is too soon and too harsh on Avesh, especially after a win. It is quite relaxing for Pant to know that there is a sixth bowling option.”
India will take on South Africa in the fourth T20I of the five-match series in Rajkot on June 17 (Friday).