After beating Pakistan and Netherlands, Team India will now be up against South Africa at the Optus Stadium, Perth. The pitch will have pace and bounce and this doesn’t augur well for opener KL Rahul who is struggling to get going. Even against Pakistan, his front-foot play came under scrutiny as he failed to gauge the in-swinger. Meanwhile, there are rumors that India might replace him with Rishabh Pant who hasn’t featured in a single match so far.
Nonetheless, Batting Coach Vikram Rathour refuted such claims.
“No, no (laughs). We are really not thinking like that. Two games, I don’t think is a good enough sample size anyway. He (Rahul) is been batting really well, he has been batting really well in the practice games. So, we are not looking at such things at all,” he told in the pre match Press Conference.
Speaking further on the issue of Rishabh Pant being benched, he said the management has been telling the right-hander to be ready as his opportunity can arrive any moment.
“Only eleven can play, unfortunately in the team. I understand Rishabh Pant is an extremely good player. And we have seen what he can do in a match against any opposition. So, we are telling him to stay on standby. Opportunity can come any time.”
“It is very important for him to stay mentally and physically fit. As you have seen him practice so that he stays mentally prepared. Let’s see, when his time comes. I am sure, he will be ready when it comes.”
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are expected to spit fire on a track that will offer steep bounce as India’s top-order gears up for its toughest test in adverse conditions against a top-notch South African side in T20 World Cup on Sunday.
The match in all likelihood will decide the Group 2 topper and India’s probable semi-final venue. The WACA has been the traditional venue for many decades but now the newly-built concrete jungle called Optus Stadium hosts the international games.
While it looks like any other modern cricket stadium devoid of WACA’s old world charm, what is similar to both grounds is spicy nature of its track and the good bounce on offer that could make life difficult for batters.