'Rishabh Pant should open, Rohit Sharma should bat at No.4' - Wasim Jaffer opines on India's batting line-up for T20 World Cup 2022

Wasim Jaffer feels that Rishabh Pant is best suited as an opener in T20Is, and asked for skipper Rohit Sharma to be dropped down to the middle-order.
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“Time for Rohit to take a punt on Pant”

Wasim Jaffer, the former India Test opener, has called for a major change in India’s batting line-up ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, beginning October 16. Jaffer feels that Rishabh Pant should bat as an opener in T20Is, adding that could be the best suited position for the left-hander.

Pant had an underwhelming run in the Asia Cup 2022, wherein he registered scores of 14, 17 and 20* at a collective strike-rate of 124.39. He batted in the middle-order in each of those innings, but couldn’t quite contribute in giving India a strong finish against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super Four round, and that did prove to be a major differentiator as the team crashed out of the competition with back-to-back defeats.

Jaffer feels that skipper Rohit Sharma should make way for Pant at the top of the order, and move himself to No.5. He cited how MS Dhoni promoting Rohit Sharma as an opener during India’s victorious Champions Trophy 2013 campaign in England helped the latter progress as one of the best white-ball batters in recent times, and asked him to seek inspiration from that move.

Jaffer named Pant and KL Rahul as his openers, followed by Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav to round off his top-five in India’s starting XI in the format.

Jaffer tweeted: “I still think opening the innings is where we could see the best of Pant in T20. Provided Rohit is ok to bat @ 4. MS took a punt on Rohit before CT in 2013, and the rest is history. Time for Rohit to take a punt on Pant. KL, Pant, VK, Rohit, Sky would be my top five.”

Pant hasn’t quite flourished as a T20I batter as yet, having aggregated 934 runs at 23.95 while maintaining a strike-rate of 126.22 till date. He has opened only twice in his T20I career, in England, alongside Rohit recently, where he returned scores of 26 (15) and 1 (5).

"I have been asked to do different things, so this was different. People will be happy seeing Rishabh open then, but yeah it is not permanent," Rohit had said during the series in England.