T20 World Cup 2021: Ajinkya Rahane picks Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant to be India’s impactful players

Rishabh Pant | GETTY

Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane expects wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya to be India’s most impactful players in the T20 World Cup 2021. Even though Hardik isn’t bowling regularly, Rahane is backing him to do well in the showpiece ICC tournament.

Speaking on India Today’s Salaam Cricket, Rahane said Pant could be a game-changer for the Indian team in the tournament. He is confident of Pant’s improved skills.

“Rishabh Pant is a game-changer. We have seen that in the recent past. In this format, he can change the game immediately,” he said. “He has improved significantly and learned how to take his game one notch above,” he added.

Hardik may not be fit for the all-rounder role, but Rahane is still hopeful of his impact with the bat even though the 28-year-old wasn’t in good form in the recently concluded IPL 2021.

“We need to back Hardik Pandya, especially when he is coming back from the injury. We should always support a player who is making a comeback after the injury. It is easy to talk from the outside, but what that individual is going through, we can’t even feel it,” said Rahane.

“We all should back him; he has been an impactful player for India in the T20 cricket, has won matches for the country.”

Many are doubting if Team India would include Hardik in the playing XI as a specialist batter, but Rahane isn’t paying attention to the talks outside.

He said, “There will always be outside news, who should play and who shouldn’t. So Hardik’s role is very crucial.”