Ind vs SA T20Is, 2022

As an ecstatic Keshav Maharaj ran towards Temba Bavuma after firing Rishabh Pant in the fourth T20I in Rajkot, you knew it was a planned firing. In the 13th over of the innings, Maharaj threw out one fuller. Pant, who was 17 out of 22 at the time, threw his bat at it only to take him to the short third man.

But in case you were following Pant’s previous layoffs in the series, you already knew this was coming. In the second T20I, Maharaj had fired Pant with a similar wide delivery. It was the first ball of Maharaj’s spell. Pant had premeditated jumped the track. If he had left it, he would have been stunned. So he reached out and got caught at a low point.

Also in the first T20I Pant had fallen in a wide throw against Anrich Nortje. Even if you give him some slack there, because that was the last one left from the innings where he had to be careful with the wind, the pattern remains. In 19 T20 turns this year, Pant has dropped to wide deliveries ten times.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who commented during the fourth T20I, said it was “not a good sign” that Pant fell repeatedly into the same trap.

“He didn’t learn,” Gavaskar told Star Sports. “He hasn’t learned anything from his previous three layoffs. They’re throwing wide, and he keeps going for it. He has to stop looking to go that far outside the stump. There’s no way he’s going to get enough. .

“Ten times he has been sent wide outside the stump. Some of them would have been called wide if he hadn’t made contact with it. Being so far away, he must reach for it. He’ll never get enough power on it.”

At the post-match presentation, Pant was asked about the pattern of his firings. He said he could “improve in certain areas” but “didn’t think too much about it”.

But bowlers, both fast and spin, seem to have done their homework. Pant’s most productive boundary shots are the slog and pull, but bowlers have learned not to feed him there. They are now bowling fewer balls at the stumps and more wide out, away from his striker arc.

In 2020 and 2021, they threw 32.6% of the balls at the stumps. This year, that figure has fallen to 29.6% so far. The corresponding numbers for the wide-outside-outside-stub line, meanwhile, are up from 9.7% to 14.3%.

Despite the meager returns in this series – 57 runs at an average of 14.25 and a strike rate of 105.55 – Pant’s overall numbers aren’t bad this year. He scored 457 runs with an average of 28.56 and a strike rate of 145.54.

However, the revival of Dinesh Karthik has sparked debate that Karthik, and not Pant, should be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in T20Is. Before the start of the South African series, the assumption was that if Karthik would find a place in the playing XI, it would have to be as a pure batter. But now it could very well be Pant in that situation.

While Pant’s overall numbers are decent, his strike rate of medium overtricks (136.09) in T20s this year is lower than most batters vying for a spot in the mid-range. In the overs seven to 16, Rahul Tripathi struck at 4:00 PM, Sanju Samson at 144:34, Deepak Hooda at 139:24 and Shreyas Iyer at 137:12. A little surprisingly, Suryakumar Yadav hit just 131.63 at that stage, but all things considered, he has an average of 45.55 with a pass rate of 155.89 in 11 matches in 2022.

But Pant is an outsider. Aside from that, he’s got one more thing ahead of him: he’s the only contender in the top six, aside from Ishan Kishan, who hits left-handed. If India omits Pant, the opposition could use a leg pinner or an orthodox left-arm spinner to strangle a setup made up mostly of right-wing batters.

However, India needs to evaluate how much they will benefit from the fact that Pant is a left-handed batter compared to a right-handed batter who might otherwise have better numbers.

But then, at the start of the series, Pant himself had said, “The kind of batting setup we have, leftie-rightie, isn’t important to us because we play spinners day in and day out.”

Statistics of Shiva Jayaraman

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