SL legend supports Pant as India's T20 World Cup opener despite KL Rahul's fitness concerns
A Sri Lankan veteran has supported Rishabh Pant to start for India in the T20 World Cup since Rahul, a fellow left-hander, is struggling with fitness.
Since the 2021 World Cup, India's opening position in the batting order has undergone the greatest experimentation. Ishan Kishan has made the most appearances and has scored the most runs out of the position's up to 11 hitters, including skipper Rohit Sharma.
However, KL Rahul, who was certified as fit earlier this week, was chosen for the Asia Cup squad instead of the left-handed batter to serve as India's opener. However, Mahela Jayawardene, a legend of Sri Lanka, has endorsed Rishabh Pant to open for India in the T20 World Cup because Rahul, another left-hander, has a fitness issue.
What they said
In the two T20I series against England last month, Pant opened the bowling for India just twice thus far. Including a six and four boundaries, he scored 26 runs in 20 balls over the course of two innings.
In the most recent episode of The ICC Review, Jayawardena said to Sanjana Ganesan, "He (Pant) has the capacity to do that, even though he (Pant) hasn't done that (in domestic cricket) often." "You won't be able to alter his strategy, no matter where he bats. Yes, it is a possibility (for Pant to open). He is going to be a very natural player."
Pant had previously been mentioned as India's white-ball opening batsman. Veterans and specialists in the sport have recently advised decision-makers and team management to consider the possibility and maximise his aggressive batting in the context of fielding limitations.
Rahul has not played for India since the IPL in 2022. Rahul will play for the first time in the next three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe before heading to the UAE for the Asia Cup due to ongoing injury worries.
However, Jayawardene, who has steadfastly backed a left-handed alternative at the top of the order and valued having a good left-hand, right-hand combination, has endorsed Pant to open for India in the T20 World Cup in the event that Rahul is unable to recapture his form in the Asia Cup.