India made only one change to their playing XI for the second ODI against West Indies. KL Rahul replaced Ishan Kishan in the lineup. While everyone was hoping to see KL Rahul walk out to open alongside Rohit Sharma, India team management thought to surprise everyone. And they successfully did as Rishabh Pant walked out alongside Rohit Sharma to open the innings for India.
Pant who usually plays in the middle order was promoted up the order. The decision took everyone by surprise and in no time Twitter was flooded with memes. Twitter users shared loads of memes to describe their feelings on seeing Pant in the middle so early in the innings. Most of the users found it an interesting move and also welcomed the decision.
Check out the best reactions on Twitter here:
— Nishant Sharma (@Nishant6862) February 9, 2022
Rishabh Pant is opening for Team India pic.twitter.com/Azc0K7lRvi
— THALAPATHY PRAVIN (@Itz_PravinVJ) February 9, 2022
Opening Pair for today's Match.
Rohit Sharma -Ironman
Rishabh Pant – Spiderman pic.twitter.com/6J9iVe91Il
— Stephenson 2-18 (@stephenson0218) February 9, 2022
Since I see Rishabh Pant opening, my message to the new team management is pic.twitter.com/DR2jNhi4zn
— Ricky talks Cricket (@CricRicky) February 9, 2022
— Rishabh shah (@Pun_Intended___) February 9, 2022
Wait, what? Rishabh Pant is opening? ?#INDvWI
— Sahil Parsekar (@sahilp10) February 9, 2022
Rishabh Pant opens first time since U19
This was indeed a surprise to many cricket fans seeing Rishabh Pant opening the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Pant has never opened at the international level. Although he has experience of playing up the order. He played as an opener during his U19 days with Rahul Dravid as the head coaching staff of the junior team back then. So, it looks like Dravid might have a huge role to play in promoting Pant up the order to try and take the attack to the opposition right from the start of the innings.
Where will KL Rahul bat?
The decision to promote Rishabh Pant in batting order looks inspired by KL Rahul’s performance in the middle order. KL Rahul has done immensely well for India in white-ball cricket while playing in the middle-order. He has batted from all 3rd to sixth position and has done well. The best has come for Rahul in the middle-order in ODIs is at the 5th position. Rahul has amassed 453 runs at an average of 56.62 in 10 games. His strike rate also stands pretty high at 113.81. He has scored 4 half-centuries and a century while batting at No. 5 for India in ODIs.