As India prepare to square off against South Africa in the longer format of the game, the Men in Blue have not figured out a potential and consistent number four batsman for the limited-overs formats. Rishabh Pant, who was named as India's number four batsman after the World Cup, has failed to fire for the team, extending India's woes in finding the ideal middle-order batsman. With just under a year left for the World T20 in Australia, India is struggling to find a strong number four batsman. Ambati Rayudu, who was previously touted by skipper Virat Kohli as the best middle-order batsman for the team, has lesser chances of making a comeback to the national side. Hence, the onus is on a youngster who has a good and consistent record while playing in the middle-order.
Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh voiced his opinion on domestic player Suryakumar Yadav being ignored by the national selectors and threw his weight behind the middle-order batsman. Suryakumar Yadav, who plays for Mumbai in the domestic league and for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, has amassed 1544 runs from 85 matches in the IPL and has played many crucial knocks for his side. In a Vijay Hazare Trophy game, Suryakumar Yadav scored 81 runs in 31 balls, smashing eight fours and six sixes en route to his magnificent knock. Harbhajan Singh took to Twitter to question why Suryakumar Yadav was not picked for the national side despite being consistent. The former Indian cricketer encouraged Suryakumar Yadav to work harder and that he would eventually be selected for the national side. Read Harbhajan Singh's tweet here:
Rishabh Pant, the 21-year-old batsman, is currently India's go-to wicket-keeper and number four batsman. Often touted as MS Dhoni's successor, Pant has big shoes to fill as his batting needs to be consistent for him to maintain a place in the playing XI. Pant's career in limited-overs cricket has been subject to a lot of criticism as the explosive left-hander has not been able to contribute much to the Indian team. It is being pointed out that Rishabh Pant replacing a legend like MS Dhoni may be creating a lot of pressure on the 21-year-old's mind. His shot selection and alleged irresponsibility have been criticized by experts and fans alike. Earlier, India's coach, Ravi Shastri, has also said that Pant's careless shot selection would be penalized and his talent would not bar him from being reprimanded. Gautam Gambhir came out in Pant's support and said that more people need to make Pant feel 'wanted' in the team.