Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has backed Rishabh Pant to make a comeback into the Indian team for the T20 World Cup 2024, if he recovers fully from his injuries and plays the entire IPL season. Pant, who was involved in a car accident last year, has been out of action since then and missed the ODI World Cup 2023, where India lost to Australia in the final.
Manjrekar, who was speaking to Sports Tak, said that Pant is a match-winner and a rare talent who can change the course of a game with his explosive batting. He added that Pant should not be judged by his past performances, but by his current form and fitness.
“Rishabh Pant is a very special player. He is someone who can win you matches single-handedly. He has that X-factor that not many players have. He is a rare talent and I would love to see him back in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup 2024,” Manjrekar said.
“But for that, he has to be fit and he has to play the full IPL season. He has to show that he is in good form and good shape. He has to prove himself again. He cannot rely on his past records or reputation. He has to earn his place in the team,” he added.
Manjrekar also said that Pant should not be compared to other wicket-keepers in the country, such as KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, or Sanju Samson, who have been performing well in his absence. He said that Pant is a different kind of player who can bat at any position and take on any bowling attack.
“Pant is not a conventional wicket-keeper. He is a batsman who can keep wickets. He can bat at any number, from opening to lower order. He can play any kind of shot, from orthodox to unorthodox. He can take on any bowler, from spin to pace. He is a unique player and he should not be compared to anyone else,” Manjrekar said.
Manjrekar also praised India’s captain Rohit Sharma, who led the team to the final of the ODI World Cup 2023. He said that Rohit is a natural leader and a great batsman who should continue to captain the team in the T20 World Cup 2024.
“Rohit Sharma is a fantastic captain. He has a calm and composed demeanor. He has a great cricketing brain. He has a lot of experience and success in the IPL. He is also a phenomenal batsman who can score big runs in any format. He should be the captain of the team for the T20 World Cup 2024,” Manjrekar said.
The T20 World Cup 2024 will be held in West Indies and USA in June this year. India will be hoping to end their ICC trophy drought, which has been going on since 2013. India have not won a T20 World Cup since 2007, when they beat Pakistan in the inaugural edition.
India’s Group Stage Matches in T20 World Cup 2024:
India will begin their campaign in the T20 World Cup 2024 with a clash against Ireland on June 5 in New York. They will then face arch-rivals Pakistan on June 9 in the same city, followed by a match against hosts USA on June 12. India will wrap up their group stage with a game against Canada on June 15 in Florida.
The T20 World Cup 2024 will feature 20 teams for the first time ever, divided into four groups of five teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super 8 round, where they will compete for a spot in the semi-finals and finals.