After his breathtaking century in the fourth and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has asked for Rishabh Pant’s promotion in the batting order to No. 6.
Pant scored a breathtaking 159* off 189 balls at the SCG as India posted a mammoth 622/7 (declared) in its first innings. It was Rishabh’s second century outside the subcontinent only in his 9th Test. No wonder, Gavaskar feels the southpaw is more than a handy batsman to have in the side.
"If at all, you're looking at balancing the team out, then you have got to have Pant batting at No. 6. Every single game, he has contributed 30s and 40s. In Sydney, he scored a 159. Before that he has consistently got starts, which makes him a very useful batsman to have at No. 6. The more responsibility you give him at No. 6, he will convert a lot of those 30s and 40s into 100s," Gavaskar told India Today.
He also backed Pant to play all three formats for the country. Rishabh, who made his ODI debut against the touring West Indies side in October last year, isn’t part of India’s 50-over squad for the twin series against Australia and New Zealand. After the culmination of Sydney Test, the Men in Blue are scheduled to play three ODIs in Australia which will be followed by five ODIs in New Zealand.
"It will happen sooner than later (play all three formats for India). But let's not forget this was Test-match innings that he played," Gavaskar asserted.
"I think India need to first look at tour Test team, then we can think about getting him back into the ODI team. That day is also not too far away. We all know MSD (MS Dhoni) is not going to play after the ICC World Cup in June-July. Rishabh will get his opportunity in the next season, if not at the World Cup next year," he further added.
Meanwhile, the brilliant show by Pant down under can result in the youngster receiving a central contract from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after being dropped for the current financial year.
Rishabh Pant is the second highest run-getter for India in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Cheteshwar Pujara. The left-hander has amassed 350 runs in seven innings at an average of 58.33.