Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Rishabh Pant has said that he would prefer to open in T20Is, while continuing to bat in the middle order in ODIs and Tests. Speaking before the start of the third ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch, Pant said that he is only 25 right now, and pitting white-ball and red-ball numbers against each other should be made only when he is around 30-32, because right now there was "no logic" in such comparisons.
"I'd want to open in T20s, No. 4-5 in ODIs and Tests I'm already batting at No. 5," Pant told Harsha Bhogle on Prime Video.
Bhogle went on to ask indirectly why Pant's Test numbers looked the best when he came across more as a white-ball player.
"Record is just a number, my white-ball record is not bad either," Pant replied. When Bhogle said he was merely comparing Pant's Test and white-ball records, Pant said, "Comparison is not a part of my life, I'm just 24-25 so you can compare once I'm 30-32. There's no logic in comparing before that."
Pant made his India debut in T20Is in February 2017, Test debut in August 2018 and ODI debut two months later in October. While his penchant for pulling off unorthodox shots makes him seem like a natural white-ball batter, especially in T20s, he is more of a certainty in India's Test XI currently, then in ODIs, and in T20Is at last.
In the recent T20 World Cup, Dinesh Karthik started ahead of Pant in the first four games before Pant was brought into the XI in the middle order mainly because India wanted a left-hand batter. Pant, however, scored only 3 against Zimbabwe and 6 opposite England in the semi-final. In the following T20Is in New Zealand, Pant opened but again failed to impress with low scores of 6 and 11 after the first game was washed out.
In the ongoing ODIs, in which he is the vice-captain just like for the T20Is, Pant fell twice to the pull shot, something oppositions have planned for to get him out. He chopped on for 15 off 23 in the opening ODI and failed to keep a short ball down on Wednesday in the third ODI to hand a catch to deep square leg for 10 off 16.
Pant had earlier said that he doesn't premeditate much in ODIs, because it's not required.
"It's mostly in T20s, not in white-ball cricket [that one has to premeditate]," he said. "There's no real need to premeditate in one-day cricket but you have to in T20s."
Pant averages 43.32 from 31 Tests with the help of five hundreds, four of which have come outside Asia, and only one in India. In ODIs, too, he has been a middle-order mainstay, especially since the 2019 World Cup. He has averaged nearly 40 while scoring 638 runs from 17 innings while striking at 110.76, with one century and five half-centuries.