As the T20 World Cup 2022 is approaching, former Indian batter Wasim Jaffer made a huge statement ahead of India's three-match T20I series against Australia. He felt that the best thing for India in the T20 World Cup would be to leave Rishabh Pant out of the playing Xi.
Pant has so far played 58 T20Is for the Indian team and has managed to score 934 runs at an average of 23.94 and a strike rate of just over 126. However, in the year 2022, he hasn't fired in the shortest format, despite very good form in Tests and ODIs.
In 2022, Pant hasn't been in great form in T20Is this year, especially since the IPL. In 14 innings, Pant averages 22.81 with a strike rate of 127.41 and hasn't had a single fifty-plus score to his name in the shortest format.
"India needs to figure out whether Rishabh Pant plays or not. The Indian think tank has been thinking a lot about putting Rishabh Pant in. He has been brilliant and we have talked about it many times. In Test cricket and in the ODIs, he has played series-winning, game-changing knocks, but that has not happened in T20 internationals or even in T20s," Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo.
Pant got chances in the Indian team after Ravindra Jadeja got injured. But if India decides to go with Akshar Patel at No. 7, Karthik may be preferred over him.
"I think Axar Patel has done really well in recent times, so I don't know why India has not trusted him, because he has won matches with his batting," he said.
"So India needs to figure out if they want to stick with Rishabh Pant in the top six or if they want to play Dinesh Karthik, who has done really well since the Indian Premier League. For me personally, Rishabh Pant does not fit in number 4 or 5. His best place is to open the batting, which I don't think will happen. I feel leaving out Rishabh Pant in the World Cup will be the best thing," Jaffer added.
India will begin its final preparations as they take on Australia and South Africa in a series of 3 T20Is each, beginning with the 1st T20I against Aaron Finch and co in Mohali on September 20.