During the pre-match press conference, Team India captain Rohit Sharma was asked about Rishabh Pant’s return to the Indian playing XI before the World Cup semi-finals. Pant replaced Dinesh Karthik in India’s final group game against Zimbabwe.
After warming up the bench in the first four games of the Super 12 stage, Indian wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant received a surprise start against Zimbabwe on Sunday. Replacing veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik in the Indian playing XI, Pant recorded his first appearance for the Rohit Sharma-led side in India’s final group game at the T20 World Cup 2022.
All-format captain Rohit had earlier explained India’s decision to replace Karthik with Pant in the Indian playing XI for their Super 12 fixture against Zimbabwe. India had secured its semi-final berth in the lead-up to its final fixture of the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup. Speaking at the traditional pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Team India captain Rohit was asked about Pant’s return to the Indian playing XI before the World Cup semi-finals.
“Between Pant and DK, I said it before the last game, as well, Rishabh was the only guy who didn’t get to play on this tour at all except the two games that we played in Perth. That was an unofficial practice game. But since then he hasn’t had a hit, and he was the only guy who was missing some game time, so we wanted to give him some time and have some options, as well, whether if we want to make changes in the semis or the finals, we should be able to do that,” Rohit told reporters.
“It would be unfair to just bring the guy from nowhere and make him play the game, so that was the thought. But again, at the same time we’ve told the guys right from the beginning that everyone needs to be ready for whichever game that they have to play, whether it’s semis, final, lead games. They’ve got to be ready for it,” Rohit explained.
Pant had a forgetful outing with the willow against Zimbabwe as the Indian southpaw was dismissed for 3 off 5 balls. Rohit-led Team India thrashed Craig Ervine-led Zimbabwe by 71 runs to secure the top spot in Group 2 of the T20 World Cup. India will meet Jos Buttler-led England in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup on Thursday. Indian skipper Rohit asserted that both Pant and Karthik are in the fray to keep wickets for India at the Adelaide Oval.
“But yeah, it was a little tactical, as well, considering we were not knowing which team we would be playing in the semis before that Zimbabwe game, so we wanted to just give a left-hander an opportunity to counter some of the spinners who bowled in the middle for New Zealand and England. That was the thought, and we thought Rishabh was the guy for us to go and give him some time, as well. But again, what is going to happen tomorrow, I think I won’t be able to tell you right now, but both of the keepers will be in play for sure,” the Indian skipper concluded.
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