India batting coach Vikram Rathour said that Rishabh Pant can be utilised in a “better way lower down the order” and the team has not yet decided on an elevation for the keeper-batter after trying him as an opener in an ODI against the West Indies recently.
Rathour was roped in after the exit of Sanjay Bangar in late 2019, and he got an extension till the ODI World Cup in India next year despite the departure of the old coaching staff under Ravi Shastri.
Asked whether the team management sees Pant as an opener in the white ball format in the future, Rathour said the dashing big-hitter could be better utilised in the lower middle-order.
“It’s too far ahead. I don’t know whether I will be part of the side after 2023… As for Rishabh, he is a fantastic player, he can always bat up the order,” Rathour said in a media interaction ahead of the T20 International series against the West Indies beginning Wednesday.
“It will depend on the team’s scenario at that point of time and what the team wants from him. I’ve no doubt that he will be an important member of the side beyond 2023.
“But we can utilise him in a better way lower down the order which can be really challenging as we don’t have many options of a left hander in the middle-order. We will see at that point of time where he can be more useful.”
Pant opened the batting in the second ODI against the West Indies and then batted at number five in the third and final game after Shikhar Dhawan was back in the mix.
Asked if the team management would want to try Pant as an opener in the upcoming T20Is, he said: “We have not yet decided, we still have a couple of days to go (for the match).
“I understand KL (Rahul) is out but we still have Ishan (Kishan) and Ruturaj (Gaikwad) in the mix. We will see once we have a look at the surface here on Monday,” he added.