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Idea to Bat Rishabh Pant at No. 5 Came from Virat Kohli, Reveals Vikram Rathour

India's batting coach Vikram Rathour revealed that it was Virat Kohli who suggested Rishabh Pant should bat at No. 5 in Kohli's absence post the Adelaide Test match against Australia.

Idea to Bat Rishabh Pant at No. 5 Came from Virat Kohli, Reveals Vikram Rathour

India's batting coach Vikram Rathour revealed that it was Virat Kohli who suggested Rishabh Pant should bat at No. 5 in Kohli's absence post the Adelaide Test match against Australia.

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With Kohli leaving home for paternity leave, India had to rejig their batting order after the first Test, which they lost by eight wickets, infamously slipping to 36 all out in the second innings. Rathour revealed that before leaving for India, Kohli suggested Pant should bat at No. 5 to keep the left-right combination going.

Pant batted at No. 5 in the third Test in Sydney and immediately made an impact scoring 97 off 118 as India held on for a draw on the final day. India eventually won the series 2-1.

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"It wasn't really my call, I cannot take the credit for this. This started after the first Test we lost. Sridhar had already spoken about how Virat and Ajinkya and all of us sat together before Virat left. That's where this was discussed, and it actually came from Virat to be honest. That in case we're playing both the left handers, it will be a good idea if Pant can be sent at No. 5 to keep the left-right combination," Rathour told Ashwin in the latter's YouTube channel.

"We debated on this a little further and we discussed with Ajinkya also, if the wicket falls early, will it be a good time to send Pant. We then let him be at No. 6 but then in the second innings, I said boss this is the time he needs to go at No. 5 irrespective of when we lose a wicket because it's the last innings and we were looking to go for the runs. The intent was not to draw the Test, and till the point we can, we go for the runs. So that was the right time to send him at No. 5. All of us agreed, including Ravi bhai because he was big on left and right combinations. He believed from a long time that Australians don't bowl that well to left handers so we need to bring in a leftie in there somewhere.

"It was discussed and Ajinkya agreed to send Rishabh at No. 5, it really worked for us. I was actually thinking if we get a really good start, we could even send him at No. 4. But then that didn't happen."

Earlier in the same channel, India's fielding coach R Sridhar revealed how Kohli joined a midnight meeting in Adelaide to plot the way ahead.

"It was midnight, around 12.30am, the night we lost the Adelaide Test. Virat Kohli messaged me: 'What are you doing?' I was shocked. I thought 'why is he messaging at this time?' I told him 'head coach (Ravi Shastri), myself, Bharat Arun and Vikram Rathour are sitting together'.

"He said, 'I'll also join you'. I said, 'no problem, come over.' He came there and all of us started discussing. That's where 'Mission Melbourne' began. Shastri made a point there: 'This 36, wear it like a badge! This 36 is what will make this team great'.

"We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we'd have to take. Then Virat called Ajinkya the next morning and we had a very good discussion. After a 36 all-out, usually teams would strengthen their batting. But Ravi Shastri, Virat and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling. That's how we replaced Virat with Ravindra Jadeja, and it was a masterstroke.

"Shastri wanted to have more left-handers. He felt because of the presence of only right-handers, the Australians kept bowling at that one spot, so if we bring in a left-hander, their lines may vary, and it may work for us tactically. So, most of the decisions were taken there and it was decided that we'll go in with five of our best bowlers."



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RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
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1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
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