MELBOURNE: Rishabh PantsThe disappointing outing against Zimbabwe is no cause for concern for head coach Rahul Dravid, who hinted the flamboyant southpaw could start in the T20 World Cup Semi-Final against England in Adelaide on Thursday.
Pant was not seen in the first four games where veteran Dinesh Karthik, who is believed to be playing his final world encounter, was given the finisher role.
With Karthik unable to deliver on bowler-friendly Australian lanes, Pant is back in the equation.
“I don’t think we judge people on a game, and sometimes whether we play them or not is not based on a game,” Dravid said after India’s 71-point victory in which the contribution of Pant was only three.
After that, Dravid sufficiently indicated that the decision to field Pant was not made in isolation, as the coach was potentially considering a match with leg spinner Adil Rashid in the semis.
“Sometimes it’s just match-ups. We have to look at what skills we might need versus what kind of bowlers we might meet. So a lot of things go into those kinds of decisions,” Dravid said.

Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (Photo AFP)
He also firmly reiterated that the team’s management never lost faith in Pant.
“Yeah, in a way it’s not that we ever lost faith in Rishabh. We have faith in every one of our 15 players who play here. It’s only 11 guys who can play, and it depends on the combinations that you have.
“The very fact that they are here and part of the World Cup means that we have a lot of confidence in them. It means that at any time they can be called up to play in the XI.
“Yes, you can only play 11 at a time and some people sometimes miss and don’t have to play, but again Rishabh is someone many of you would have seen, traveled with us.
“He hits a lot in the net, he hits a lot of balls, does a lot of practice on the pitch and kind of trains and stands ready. The opportunity came for us today (Sunday) to give her a chance” he reasoned.
In fact, Dravid was happy with Pant’s intent against left-arm spinner Sean Williams, but the execution was poor.
“Obviously it didn’t work out today, but absolutely not – I don’t mind at all because I think he took the right option.
“His role was to take the left arm spinner that was there, and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Pant being a southpaw also gives the team variations among specialty hitters.

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Rishabh pants (Photo AFP)
“Sometimes it also gives us the opportunity to play Rishabh, obviously keeping that game in mind as well, but just keeping the future in mind, just opening up our options.
“I think everyone is available for selection; just because someone missed this game doesn’t mean we can’t come back to them and we can’t decide – we could go the same way. We could go a different way as well,” Dravid said trying to be wary of the potential change in the playing XI.
ZIMBABWE MATCH WAS DRESS REHEARSAL FOR THE SEMI-FINAL
Dravid said skipper Rohit Sharma intentionally took the baton after winning the throw as he wanted to defend while watching the semi-final in Adelaide.
“Two things we wanted to achieve were to try to beat first if we had the chance.
“Obviously we had to win the draw for that. Just because honestly we played Pakistan first when we came here, we just wanted to experience what it was like to establish a score in these kinds of conditions.”

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Photo ANI
He also wanted his hitters to get 20 full overs at bat.
“Also, we felt that if we struck first, it would give us the opportunity to go 20 overs and just try to get a par, par-over score first.”
IS THERE A PLACE FOR CHAHAL AGAINST ENGLAND AFTER AXAR’S BAD SHOW?
Dravid isn’t the only one to give the XI, but said he’ll come into the game with an open mind given the Adelaide Ring’s shorter dimensions.
Asked about Yuzvendra Chahal’s essay, Dravid said: “As I said earlier, I think we have a completely open mind about everyone in our 15s. potentially make them weaker, the kind of team we’ve chosen.”

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Yuzvendra Chahal (photo ANI)
THE BALL IS CATCHING IN ADELAIDE
Dravid will take a call after seeing Adelaide trail as Bangladesh v Pakistan saw spinners play a major role.
“Again, we’ll have to go out there and see. I watched some games today and I know the tracks were slow and they were catching and spinning a bit.
“We may be playing a completely new band in Adelaide, and the band we played against Bangladesh with, to be honest, didn’t tour. It was, again, a different type of wicket, and it was also performed in Adelaide.”
“Of course, if it’s slow, we’ll play according to those situations. If we think it might play differently, we’ll have to build a team to match that,” he concluded.



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