Throwing weight behind Rishabh Pant ahead of the 2nd T20I between India and South Africa, former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra has backed the star batter to feature in the playing XI of the Rohit Sharma-led side for the series decider. After thrashing the Proteas in the 1st T20I, Rohit-led Team India will hope to seal the series in their upcoming encounter at Barsapara Cricket Stadium.
Pant was overlooked by the Indian think tank in the three-match series between India and Australia. Senior gloveman Dinesh Karthik was preferred over Pant as the Indian southpaw only featured in the 2nd T20I of the Australia series. Both Karthik and Pant were named in the playing XI for the curtain-raiser of the South Africa series. However, the middle-order batters played no role in India’s successful run chase at Thiruvananthapuram’s Greenfield International Stadium.
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Speaking to Cricbuzz ahead of the 2nd T20I match between India and South Africa, Nehra opined that Pant is a sure-starter in the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya. “I would watch out for Rishabh Pant. He is bound to be in the playing XI now, he has a good chance with Hardik Pandya not being there. He has been in and out of the team as of late. Now if he also scores runs, that will be another plus point for India,” Nehra said.
While Nehra backed Pant to deliver the goods for India, former Indian pacer RP Singh asserted that premier batter Suryakumar Yadav would be the player to watch out for the hosts in the series decider. “Suryakumar Yadav would be the player to watch out for from India. Quinton de Kock from South Africa,” Singh added. Suryakumar smashed a match-winning half-century in India’s 8-wicket win over the Proteas at Thiruvananthapuram. The star batter is also the leading run-getter for Team India in the shortest format this season.
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