Give Pant Freedom To Play, You're Going To Win Games Alone: Srikkanth > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Give Pant freedom to play, will win matches single-handedly: Srikkanth

Pant has been in good touch in the IPL.

The World Cup is now just under two months away, and as sorted as most of India's line-up in the case of most players picking themselves is, the No.4 slot, which has been a bone of contention for a substantial period of time, is still left unanswered. There have been a number of aspirants who have auditioned and subsequently shortlisted, but India are yet to pick out a sure-shot candidate for the slot.

While there are various views on the subject, former India captain, and the 1983 World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev believes that you'd much rather focus on the task at hand considering the situation of the game and be fluid with who bats at which position, than obsess about a number in the line-up.

"There's a lot of talk going around the No.4 slot; you have to see the situation at that moment," said Dev at an event in Bangalore on Tuesday (April 2). "In our time it was different; we were given a number. Today, there is no number as such. The need of the hour is very important and that you can send anybody. They are good enough. The numbers 1-7 they all can bat opening, or at No.5. Don't get confused. Play the game as a team and win the match. Number goes by the situation of the match."

Back in October, skipper Virat Kohli had singled out Ambati Rayudu as the potential solution to India's unending conundrum. Since then, however, a lot has changed with the question still unanswered.

Rishabh Pant, however, has entered the fray and has put his hand up. Not as the wicketkeeper, with MS Dhoni the first choice for the role, but just as a batsman - a viable option that has had backing from pundits across, with the latest to jump on that bandwagon being Kris Srikkanth.

"Most players pick themselves. If you ask me, I would want a few match-winners. The only slot that's going to be slightly confusing will be the No.4 one," said Srikkanth. "If I was the captain, or the chairman, or Kapil Dev of 1983, I'd go for a match-winner. A guy that can win matches from no-win situations. We need such a cricketer. We can't have always safe cricketers. With that taken into account, as Dhoni will be the wicketkeeper-batsman, I still believe that Rishabh Pant is a good cricketer. Don't forget that he's the guy that almost won a Test match in England from an amazing no-win situation. And if you encourage him, saying, 'Rishabh, apna game khelo, don't worry, you're going to play all the games', give him that confidence, and he will win (at least) three matches on his own.

"In my days, Kapil Dev said, 'Cheeka, no rules for you, do whatever you want'. Like that, you give Rishabh Pant that freedom to play, he's capable of winning three matches for you single-handedly. That's my opinion."

The bowling department has a few questions of its own. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami are likely to comprise of India's pace attack, should India play an extra pacer, or two legspinners? Or play the one offspinner with a wristspinner. Weighing in on those permutations and combinations, Srikkanth said that there is the question of whether Jadeja comes in for a wristspinner, and where he plays will also matter. But Roger Binny, the former Indian all-rounder, believes India will need an extra pacer - someone who can seam the ball in England.

"I would drop a spinner and go in with an extra pace bowler, who can win matches for you. It's not the spinners who will win matches for you in England. I would go for a person who can seam the ball. I think it's very important in England to be have someone who can seam the ball early. Bhuvi is one who can do that. Umesh Yadav could be a good pick because he seams the ball and he's got pace."

With the World Cup 2019 revisiting a format of the tournament that was last seen in 1992, where every team plays all the other teams, when asked if it was a positive or negative, Srikkanth said: "This gives a fair opportunity for every team to come back to form. Sometimes because of rain or bad luck you can lose a match. So by nine matches, every team has a fair opportunity to qualify. This is definitely a good format because you're playing each other once at least.

"From India's point of view, all the more better for us. You get used to the conditions as the English conditions are going to be different and it's good time for the team to become set."

Live Home Series
Player Schedule
Points Table Cricket Rankings
Cricket Clothing Cricket Equipment
Cricinfo Apps Download