With every passing series for the Indian team, the discussion around the potential 15 for the 2022 T20 World Cup will become a hotly-debated topic. India players recently completed their first assignment after IPL 2022 – a five-match T20I series against South Africa at home – and India head coach Rahul Dravid was asked about the same. But while he denied having firmed up India’s T20 World Cup squad, Dravid did drop a big hint on 24-year-old’s chances and Twitter was left furious with the decision.
KL Rahul was the first-choice leader for the series, but owing to a groin injury he incurred before the start of the contest, he was ruled out and Rishabh Pant was named the new captain. While blew hot and cold as a leader in the series which ended in a 2-2 draw after the decider in Bengaluru was washed out, his performance as batter was disastrous.
In just four innings, Pant scored 58 runs at a strike rate of only 105. Veterans and cricket experts criticised his batting and lashed out at his similar dismissals in the series as many began ruling out the youngster from their potential squad for the World Cup.
However, Dravid completely backed Pant and revealed that the 24-year-old is a “big” and “integral” part of India’s set-up heading into the T20 World Cup in Australia.
“Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not concerning him. Certainly, he is a very big part of our plans going ahead in next few months,” Dravid said during the post-match press conference on Sunday. “I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play slightly attacking brand of cricket, to take the game on a little more. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge it based on two or three games.”
Well, India still have 10 more T20I matches to play across three series before the T20 World Cup and Pant will be getting chance at repaying Dravid’s faith.