The most-talked-about topic in the cricket fraternity is the chance of Pant’s entry into the India squad for the 2022 T20 World Cup. His recently-concluded home series against South Africa saw many ruling out the youngster for the big event in Australia later this year. And amid this debate, India head coach Rahul Dravid made a huge statement on Pant's chances in the World Cup squad.
Pant, who led India to a 2-2 tie with South Africa in the five-match T20I series, with the series decider at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru postponed due to rain on Sunday, scored only 58 runs in five innings for India at a strike rate of just 105. But it's his similar dismissal, rather than his run total, that has raised questions about his place in India's T20I squad.
However, Dravid clarified on Sunday that Pant is a "big" and "integral" of India's plan in the build-up to 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 the next few months," Dravid said during the post-match press conference.
"I just don't want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a 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," the head coach said.
"I think he had a pretty good IPL in terms of strike rate even though it might not have looked good on averages. In IPL, he looked to move up a little bit (in terms of averages) and probably three years ago he was on those numbers. We are hoping that we can get those numbers from him at the international level."
"In the process (of playing an attacking game), he might go wrong in a few games but he remains an integral part of our batting line-up with the power he has and the fact that he is a left-hander is important to us in the middle overs, he played some good knocks," he said.