India will persist with Rishabh Pant at number four in the batting order to avail the left-right advantage in the middle overs, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said on the eve of Tuesday’s Cricket World Cup group match against Bangladesh, Reuters reported.
The twice champions were left without a left-hander in the top half after a fractured finger ended opened Shikhar Dhawan’s World Cup outing.
Pant was flown in as Dhawan’s replacement and the 21-year-old finally made his debut in Sunday’s loss to England, scoring 32 after some nervous running between the wickets early in his knock.
“I felt he had a decent innings,” Bangar told reporters at Edgbaston. “He got 32 and played a couple of god shots, got a partnership going (with Hardik Pandya), so we’re going to persist with him.”
India, second in the table with 11 points, need a victory in their final two group matches to qualify for the semi-finals.
Also on Monday, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said he didn’t share his India counterpart Virat Kohli’s concerns about the short boundary on one side at Edgbaston where the neighbours will clash on Tuesday.
Kohli was critical of the ground dimensions after England ended India’s unbeaten campaign on a pitch which had a 59-metre boundary on one side. “If batsmen are able to reverse sweep you for six on a 59-metre boundary there is not much you can do as a spinner,” Kohli said, defending his slow bowlers after they lost by 31 runs.
The same pitch will be used for a match which Bangladesh must win to keep their semi-final hopes alive, while a victory for Kohli’s men will secure them a place in the last four.