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Rishabh Pant Middle-Order Expertise Makes Him India Top Contender for T20 World Cup Wicketkeeper-Batsman



In the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup set to take place in the West Indies and the United States next month, the competition for India's wicketkeeper-batsman slot is heating up. Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir believes Rishabh Pant's proficiency in the middle order could give him the edge over Sanju Samson in securing this crucial position.

Pant's inclusion in India's 15-member squad for the tournament comes on the back of his remarkable performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) following his comeback from a near-fatal car accident in December 2022. However, with Samson also named in the squad, the selectors have kept their options open.

Gambhir, a key figure in India's World Cup triumph in 2007, emphasized the importance of fully backing whichever player gets the nod. "It's touch and go, but I'd start with Rishabh because he's a left-hander and a natural middle-order batsman," Gambhir stated in an interview with Sportskeeda. "Rishabh has batted at number five, six, and seven. India need a wicketkeeper in that position as compared to a top-three batsman. A left-hander in the middle-order gives you that left-hand-right-hand combination."

Pant, leading the Delhi Capitals, showcased his prowess by scoring 446 runs from 13 matches in the IPL this season, including a quickfire 33 off 23 balls in his team's recent victory over Lucknow Super Giants. Meanwhile, Samson, captaining the Rajasthan Royals, has also impressed with the bat, amassing 486 runs from 12 games.

Gambhir acknowledged Samson's capability but suggested that Pant's middle-order experience could tilt the scales in his favor. "If India see that Sanju can score more runs at number six or seven, they could go with him as well," he added.

With Delhi's win ensuring Rajasthan's top-four finish alongside Kolkata Knight Riders, the race for the remaining two playoff spots intensifies, providing further opportunities for Samson to bolster his credentials.

As the T20 World Cup draws near, all eyes will be on the battle between Pant and Samson for the coveted wicketkeeper-batsman role, with Pant's middle-order proficiency emerging as a crucial factor in India's decision-making process.

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