IND vs PAK: The shortest format of the game always gives fair opportunities to players to express themselves and play freely. This is the year of the T20I World Cup and the Asia Cup in many ways will work as a dress rehearsal for the Asian teams to play on the grandest stage of them all. India play Pakistan in the first game of Group A on August 28, 2022, at the Dubai International Stadium. India is the defending champion and will like to start on a winning note and defeat Pakistan. Team India last clashed with Pakistan in the ICC T20I World Cup which was played in the United Arab Emirates. The Babar Azam-led Pakistan side outplayed India in every department and defeated India by a margin of 10 wickets. Contributing heavily in one of Pakistan’s most famous wins, Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman scored a gritty 79* off 55 deliveries and stitched a partnership of 152 runs with skipper Babar Azam who scored 68* off 52 deliveries.
On the other hand, there is India’s Rishabh Pant, a swashbuckler and an aggressive batsman. When on full song, Pant can score runs and change the course of the game in no matter of time. The wicketkeeper-batsman over the years has gained this reputation of being one of the finest red-ball players but his impact on the white-ball game hasn’t been that impressive. Certainly not to shy away from the fact that Rishabh Pant has all the capability to get into the opposition’s mind both with his keeping and batting. A chattery Pant behind the stumps plays an instrumental role in rattling the batsman’s focus. T20I is a funny game and can change within a few overs here and there and that is when Pant comes in handy. Once he gets going, the opposition finds it tough to get back into the game.
Here is a little comparison between Pakistan’s Mohammed Rizwan and India’s Rishabh Pant on how their careers have shaped so far:
Pakistan: Mohammed Rizwan
A descendant of Peshawar, Mohammed Rizwan’s cricketing career took off as soon as he played a blinder of an innings against India in the 2021 edition of the T20I World Cup. Rizwan who debuted for Pakistan in the year 2015 always struggled to keep his place in the side as he was regarded as an inconsistent batsman.b To add to Mohammed Rizwan’s woes, the availability of former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Khan also kept him on the benches. As of now, Mohammed Rizwan is going through one of the finest times in his career. At an average of 50.36, Mohammed Rizwan has amassed a total of 1662 runs in 56 matches and 45 innings and is one of the most dependable batsmen for the boys in green.
India: Rishabh Pant
Time and again it is said how talented Rishabh Pant is with the bat in his hand. The left-handed keeper-batsman can decimate the opposition at his own will once he gets going. Pant who worked his way to the Indian team riding high on his tremendous IPL performances has found it extremely tough to leave an impact in the white-ball format and still struggling to understand his game. On the flip side, as far as the red ball game is concerned, Pant has already cemented his place and the world knows and has seen what he can do when he starts middling the ball. It certainly does not mean that Pant can’t have an impact on the shortest format of the game. T20Is can change pretty quickly and oppositions are certainly wary of Pant who can just turn the game in India’s favour from any situation. With a strike rate of 126.65, Pant has scored 883 runs in 54 matches and 48 innings.
India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan
Pakistan’s squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali.