Debashis Sarangi ∙ Sep 9 2022, 12:30 PM

Three alternatives India might consider to replace Rishabh Pant in T20Is

image-l7uftsqsRishabh Pant was disappointing in the Asia Cup [PC: Twitter]

In contrast to its fans' expectations, India had a pretty underwhelming campaign in the Asia Cup 2022. Although the Men in Blue entered the Super four in a grand fashion by winning both group stage matches, they fumbled and eventually lost to Sri Lanka and Pakistan, making their exit from the tournament. 

India's batting in the middle-overs was a significant reason behind their premature ouster. Rishabh Pant, whom the management trusted to provide impetus in the middle phase, was disappointing for the umpteenth time. 

As it stands, India are searching for a left-handed batter they can use as a potent weapon, particularly against leg-spinners and slow left-arm spinners, in the 7-15 overs phase. So, let's find out the top three candidates who could solve this issue for the Indian team. 

Tilak Varma

image-l7ufvw3uTilak Varma in the IPL 2022 [PC: Twitter]

Hailed as one of the finest batting talents in the country, Tilak Varma had an impressive season for the Mumbai Indians in his maiden IPL outing. He played the role of a perfect fiddle to Suryakumar Yadav, slamming 397 runs at a healthy average of 36.09 in the tournament. 

Tilak's ability to maul his favourable matchups in the middle overs could be advantageous for the Indian team. The swashbuckling southpaw has averaged 115 and struck at a magnificent rate of 149.4 against leg-spinners and left-arm spinners in the 7-15 overs phase in the shortest format. More importantly, his dot per cent of a mere 20.8 suggests how busy he has been in the middle against these two bowling types. 

Venkatesh Iyer

image-l7ufxww5Venkatesh Iyer in action [PC: Twitter]

When Hardik Pandya was under rehabilitation, India tried to fill the vacant all-rounder's spot with Venkatesh Iyer. Despite being an opener in the IPL, Iyer was made to finish games, a role he performed with modest success. 

Statistically, Iyer averages a decent 36.7 and strikes at a phenomenal 148.6 against the above-discussed spin types in the middle-overs phase in T20s. So, he can also serve the floater's role in the Indian lineup. 

Ishan Kishan

image-l7ug13m7Ishan Kishan [PC: Twitter]

Although Ishan Kishan had astounding success as a middle-order batter for Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2020, he has been mostly used as an opener in his international career so far. 

Ishan has 380 runs to his name at an astonishing strike rate of 150.8 against the discussed spin types in the middle overs. So, he could be given a chance in the middle order after Pant failed to nail the enforcer's role. More importantly, the Jharkhand-born keeper-batter could be Pant's most appropriate like-for-like replacement. 

The calls for replacements don't imply the end of the road for Rishabh Pant by any means. The star Delhi batter is still India's first-choice keeper across formats. But it seems like India need to move on from Pant, the middle-order batter in T20Is and try him out either as a power-play basher at the top or as a pace hitter in the death overs. 

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