India will take on England in the all-important rescheduled fifth Test in Birmingham from July 1. The match will decide the outcome of the series which came to a halt last year due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian camp. The Indian cricket team leads the series 2-1 and even a draw would be enough to take only its fourth Test series win in England. Before that, India won three test series in the country in 1971, 1986 and 2007. This time it will be on the Rohit Sharma-led side to record another historic series win.
Ahead of the India-England test, in an exclusive interview for DailyExpertNews, former Indian cricket team player Sanjay Manjrekar believed the player could be the ‘X factor’ for India against England.
“Rishabh Pant! I know Rohit Sharma is on top, Virat Kohli and other great hitters. Pujara’s resistance is there, Shami and Bumrah are well bowled. It will be game changes with the ball. Short career test career Rishabh Pant has three great test innings achieved and in different circumstances, different oppositions So you are like Ben Stokes, if you have to look at a player from India, you almost won the India match South Africa as Well with those 100 he has Pant is the man. If England has Ben Stokes, then India has Rishabh Pant,” said Manjrekar.
The veteran of 37 Tests and 74 ODIs is confident Pant can make a difference in red ball cricket, despite a meager patch in the T20 format.
“Yes, because the formats are different. And so far we have seen that Rishabh Pant has been a formidable test player. Although he has put together all the exceptional performances at the test level, his white ball batting is not quite right. So there is almost a separation between his performance in white ball cricket vs red ball cricket,” said Manjrekar.
“This is a guy who impresses when playing test cricket because he does things very differently. He is not pushed to start hitting straight away. So there will be occasions where he plays balls with 20 dots and then hits three sixes , depending on condition, the bowler on the other side So I think the Test format allows Rishabh Pant to be a bit more imaginative, allow him not to be pushed, he can take his time and decide when he wants hitting and at what point So for now it seems that the Test format offers the kind of setting he seems to enjoy. Whatever happens in the cue ball format, I see that doesn’t affect his performance at all on the Test level. We’ve seen that over the past two to three years.”
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