KL Rahul‘s injury has paved way for Rishabh Pant to lead India for the five-match T20I series against South Africa, that begins on June 9th. Pant has never captained the national side before but has already shown leadership potential in the Indian Premier League, where he captained Delhi Capitals.
“It’s a very good feeling although it didn’t come in good circumstances. The news just came in for me as well an hour back so I’m also processing it. I haven’t even digested the information yet. It is a great feeling getting this opportunity, especially in my hometown,” Pant said on the eve of the first T20I.
The development came in the eleventh hour, after Rahul was deemed unfit to play due to his persistent groin injury. The number of injuries Rahul has picked up in the last few months could be a cause of concern for the team management, considering he is seen as the future captain of the side.
The Indian team needs him to be fully fit by next month, for the one-off Test match in England. Rahul rued the missed opportunity to lead the Indian team for the first time at home, but wished Rishabh Pant and the rest of the team the best of luck,
Rahul’s injury has solved India’s opening dilemma. While his position at the top of the order was confirmed, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad were fighting for another spot. Now both of them naturally walk into the team, as hinted by the stand-in skipper Pant himself.
“I think there would not be many changes in the batting order as KL would have opened. There will be one change for sure, we do not have many openers… You guys can guess. We will discuss the team after some time,” Pant said.
There’s another option in Venkatesh Iyer, who opens the innings for Kolkata Knight Riders, but Team India doesn’t see him as more than a finisher who can chip in with a couple of overs if needed.
Fans are not happy with this move, as they think the team management has missed a golden opportunity to bring either Sanju Samson or Rahul Tripathi into the mix. Both have had a terrific campaign in the IPL 2022, and their refreshing approach to the game would have made the series more interesting.
Featured Image Credit: BCCI