Former India batsman Virender Sehwag has backed young wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant, to deliver the goods in the eagerly-awaited ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, starting in Southampton on June 18. Pant, who is going through a purple patch in his international career, hammered his senior bowling colleagues including the spinners in his unbeaten 121 off 94 balls during the Indian team’s intra-squad match simulation over the last two days.Also Read - England vs India | Mohammed Shami is Going to Win The Series For India: Brad Hogg
The 42-year-old Sehwag, who redefined the art of opening batting in Test cricket, feels one player apart from Rohit Sharma who can make the difference is Rishabh Pant. Sehwag wants Pant to bat the way he knows and not get bogged down by too much analysis and dissection about the technique and temperament needed to be successful in England. Also Read - IND vs ENG 2020: I don't Think India Can Have Any Complaints if We Leave a Bit of Grass, Says James Anderson
“Rishabh Pant knows his batting better than anybody else and he should focus on what he can do best for the team rather than get worried about what ex-cricketers, commentators and media is saying,” Sehwag said about the keeper, who has already scored a hundred in English conditions during the tour of 2018. Also Read - ENG vs IND 2021: Ajinkya Rahane Names Bowler Who Can Fill-up For Hardik Pandya's Absence, Respects Ben Stokes Decision to Take a Break
Sehwag feels that Pant’s qualities and recent form at the top of the order certainly makes him a candidate to succeed during the six Test matches in England this summer. “The focus for Rishabh should be one one ball at a time. If the ball is there to be hit, he should hit it. I don’t think he needs to change approach as he has got success with the same approach and Test matches are different ball game.”
“Of late, he has understood his role in the team and he is a very critical player for India in Test matches coming in at No 6. If he gets set and starts scoring runs, he can change the game in a session and we have all seen that.”
Sehwag also believes that India should go with two spinners in their five-man bowling line-up rather than going in with four pacers in their five-man bowling line-up as it would also strengthen their lower middle-order batting.
“I don’t how the wicket would look like on June 18th but one thing I have always believed is that you need to play to your strengths. If India can play with five specialist bowlers, I still believe that two spinners will come into effect on fourth and fifth day.
“Two spinners will be good for India because both Ashwin and Jadeja are capable all-rounders. That also adds depth to your batting. You don’t need a sixth batsman with both of them around.”
Mindset is very important in modern day game, especially for the younger players, feels Sehwag, who is now part of a website ‘Cricuru’ where more than 30 past and present international cricketers speak about how to deal with situations.
It includes Sehwag himself, Chris Gayle, Jonty Rhodes, Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh, Jemimah Rodrigues to name a few.