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Rishabh Pant sees future in Bishnoi, Venkatesh Iyer as India experiment for T20 World Cup 2022

Ravi Bishnoi impressed against West Indies

Kolkata, February 19: India wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant said the team is looking at exploring as many options as possible in the build-up to the T20 World Cup, which is to take place in eight month's time.

Pant, who was appointed vice-captain in the absence of KL Rahul for the ongoing T20I series against the West Indies, smashed a brisk half-century in the team's win in the second game here on Friday (February 18).

Among other questions, he was also asked about the plans for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

"There's still time for the World Cup, so the plan is to try out as many options as possible," the 24-year-old said at the post-match media interaction.

"We are trying to find out which positions suit whom and how they can benefit the team. So we're trying out several options, whatever seems right for the team eventually will be final."

In the absence of the rested pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, seamer Harshal Patel held his nerves to help India emerge winner after West Indies big hitter Rovman Powell threatened to take the game away with back-to-back sixes in the final over.

Pant said the plan was to keep the ball outside off stump.

"After getting hit for two sixes, the talk was to try bowling outside off, but then he ultimately backed himself.

"There's obviously pressure in the game, but as individuals, we tend to focus on our skill rather than thinking too much," Pant added.

With the injured Hardik Pandya not available, India are also looking to use seam-bowling all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer as a finisher.

Venkatesh, who caught the selectors' eye after impressing as an explosive opener for Kolkata Knight Riders in the UAE leg of the IPL 2021, played an 18-ball 33-run cameo.

He, along with Pant, put on an entertaining 76-run partnership from 35 balls to lift India's total to 186/5.

"Yes, in the IPL he opened for KKR, but we can't be thinking too much about that. In the Indian team we are just trying to find different positions for different people. He used to play down the order (for Madhya Pradesh).

"When you come down the order, you know the situation. He (Venkatesh) is someone who reads the situation really well. He is a mature cricketer," Pant was all praise for Venkatesh.

Asked about their match-turning partnership after Virat Kohli (52) departed in the middle overs, Pant said the plan was simple. "We talked about keeping it simple and not trying too many things. The plan was simple, see the ball, hit the ball."

When asked how secured he's feeling batting at No. 5, Pant said: "It's all about the team plan. As an individual, I can't think about whether I've to secure this place or that place.

"I have to do whatever the team needs from me. It's about keep improving each and every day."

India now have another spin option in 21-year-old Ravi Bishnoi, a googly specialist who returned with match-winning figures of 2/17 on debut in the first T20I.

In the second T20I, he took 1/30, and Pant was seen constantly egging on the youngster from behind the stumps.

"For a newcomer in the team, it's all about giving him confidence. The more you give him confidence, talk to him about what he feels as an individual, all these are important.

"Yes we can give our plans, but for a bowler, it's very important to know what he feels, especially for a youngster who has just come into the team. So if we give him the confidence and let him have his own plan, then he will also learn more," Pant signed off.

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Story first published: Saturday, February 19, 2022, 12:15 [IST]
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