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Rishabh Pant will bat at No. 3 throughout the tournament: Rathour

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New York, June 6: India will continue with wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant at No. 3 in the T20 World Cup following his gritty performance against Ireland, said batting coach Vikram Rathour, who also expressed his delight at having a fully-fit Hardik Pandya back in the fold.
Both Pant and Pandya, who returned to top-flight cricket in the IPL, are making a comeback to international cricket after a long gap.
The duo delivered the goods in India’s eight-wicket thrashing of Ireland in their opening game here on Wednesday.
On a challenging pitch with uneven bounce, run-scoring was difficult but Pant unleashed a few stunning shots, including a reverse-scoop over the Irish wicket-keeper’s head for a match-winning six in his unbeaten 36.
The Ireland match was Pant’s first game for India since December 2022 when he was involved in a horrific car accident.
“Yes, he has been batting really well. The two games (warm-up and Ireland) he has played, he has looked really, really good,” Rathour told the media after the match here at the Nassau County Cricket Stadium.
“Yes, at the moment he is our No. 3 and it helps that he is a left-hander,” Rathour added, in a way cementing the combination of skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the top.
Both Pant and Pandya made their way back into the India squad for the T20 World Cup after proving their fitness and form in the IPL.
Even though he did not garner big numbers as an all-rounder in a turbulent season as captain for Mumbai Indians, India chief selector Ajit Agarkar had said that there is no one in the country who could match Pandya’s skills as an all-rounder.
On Wednesday, Pandya was quick and precise with his line and length to produce 4-0-27-3 in his first match since October 2023 — also in a World Cup.
Pandya had hobbled off the pitch in Pune playing against Bangladesh after twisting his ankle, which left India without an all-rounder and also disrupting the balance of their playing XI, with incoming Suryakumar Yadav failing to make an impact in the 50-overs quadrennial showpiece.
“Hardik looked really good. Hardik has been – I mean, even in the practice game and even in the practice – bowling really well,” Rathour said.“He looks fit enough to go through four overs and he’s been bowling with some pace and some accuracy, so yeah, it’s great,” he added. (PTI)

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