Rishabh Pant got a higher than batting promotion in the last two tests against Australia and his blockbuster hit in both Sydney and Brisbane helped India complete a dramatic comeback and seal the four-game streak 2-1. First, he hit 97 in Sydney, giving India a chance for an unlikely win over 407. The match in Sydney ended in a draw, as India denied Australia the chance to take the lead in the series. Then in Gabba, Pant played a more vigilant 89 * to help the team complete the chase and beat Australia at their fortress.
India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour said the idea to promote the reckless wicket-keeper-batsman came from regular captain Virat Kohli, before leaving the tour on paternity leave.
Rathour was discussing India’s performance of the bat on the series with Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel when the off-spinner asked him how he got the idea to step up Pant.
“It wasn’t really my decision. I can’t take credit for this. This started after the first test, which we lost (in Adelaide),” said Rathour.
“Sri (Ravi Sridhar) has already talked about where Virat, Ajinkya (Rahane) and all of us sat together before Virat left,” he said.
“So that’s where this was discussed, and it actually came from Virat, to be fair,” Rathour told Ashwin.
“If we’re both left-handed (Pant and Ravindra Jadeja), it’s a good idea if Pant can be sent to number 5 so we can have that left-right combination.”
“So we debated this a little bit further and we also discussed this with Ajinkya,” said Rathour. “I had a discussion that if wickets drop early, is that a good time to send Pant?”
So we discussed getting him to No. 6. But in the second innings in Sydney, I said, “Boss, this is the time he needs to get to No. 5 no matter when we lose the wicket, because it was the last innings and we were going for the runs”, he said.
He also said Ravi Shastri is a strong supporter of the left-right combination.
“For a long time he believed that Australians are not good at bowling for left-handers, so we need to bring in a left-hander somewhere. So it was discussed and Ajinkya agreed,” said Rathour.
He also added that he proposed sending Pant to No. 4 in the fourth innings for Gabba, but that didn’t work out in the end.
Pant finished as India’s highest points scorer in the series and was the player of the match in the fourth Test to end the series.
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