Pant did not feature in the first four matches, where veteran Dinesh Karthik, who is likely to be playing his last global event, was assigned the role of a finisher.
With Karthik unable to deliver on bowler-friendly Australian pitches, Pant is back in the equation.
“I don’t think we judge people on one match, and sometimes whether we play them or not is not based on one match,” Dravid said after India’s 71-run win in which Pant’s contribution was just three.
Afterwards, Dravid gave a good indication that the decision to field Pant was not taken in isolation as the coach may be eyeing a match with leg-spinner Adil Rashid in the semi-finals.
“Sometimes it’s just matches. We have to look at what are the skills that we might need against the kind of bowlers we might be up against. So many things go into these kinds of decisions,” said Dravid.
Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (AFP photo)
He also firmly reiterated that team management never lost faith in Pant.
“Yes, in a sense, it’s not that we ever lost faith in Rishabh. We have faith in all our 15 players playing here. It’s only 11 guys who can play, and it depends on the combinations that you have.
“The fact that they are here and part of the World Cup means we have a lot of confidence in them. It means they can be called up to play in the XI at any time.
“Yes, you can only play 11 at a time and some people sometimes miss out and don’t have to play, but again, Rishabh is someone who, as many of you would have seen, has traveled with us.
“He’s been batting a lot in the nets, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, doing a lot of fielding and kind of batting practice and keeping himself ready. The opportunity came for us today (Sunday) to give him an opportunity,” he said. . he reasoned.
In fact, Dravid was happy about Pant’s intent against left-arm spinner Sean Williams, but the execution was wrong.
“Obviously it didn’t work out today, but absolutely no – I’m not bothered about it at all because I think he took the right option.
“His role was to take on the left-arm spinner that was there, and sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Pant being a left-hander also gives the team variations among specialist batsmen.
Rishabh Pant (AFP photo)
“Sometimes it also gives us the opportunity to play Rishabh, to obviously keep this game in mind as well, but just keep the future in mind, just open up our options.
“I think everyone is available for selection; just because someone missed this game, it doesn’t mean we can’t go back to him and we can’t decide – we might go the same way. in a different way too,” said Dravid, trying to set his guard against the possible change in the playing XI.
ZIMBABWE GAME WAS READY OPENING FOR SEMI-FINALS
Dravid said captain Rohit Sharma batted deliberately after winning the toss as they looked to defend against the semi-final in Adelaide.
“A few of the things we did want to achieve was to try and bat first if we got the opportunity.
“Obviously we had to win the toss for that. Just because we honestly bowled first against Pakistan when we came here, we just wanted to experience what it was like to score in these kind of conditions.”
He also wanted his batsmen to get full 20 overs.
“We also felt that if we batted first, it would give us an opportunity to play 20 overs and just get into that ability to still try to get an even par-plus score batting first.
IS THERE A PLACE FOR CHAHAL AGAINST ENGLAND AFTER AXAR’S POOR PERFORMANCE?
Dravid is not one to give away the game of eleven but said he would go into the game with an open mind considering the shorter dimensions of the Adelaide Oval.
Asked about Yuzvendra Chahal’s Test, Dravid said: “As I said earlier, I think we have a completely open mind about everyone in our 15. We believe anyone who comes into the 15, we won’t possibly be weaker doesn’t make, the kind of group we’ve chosen.”
Yuzvendra Chahal (ANI photo)
BALL GRIP IN ADELAIDE
Dravid will take a call after seeing the Adelaide track while Bangladesh versus Pakistan saw spinners play a major role.
“Again, we’ll have to go there and see. I watched some of the games today and I know the pitches were slow and they gripped and they spun a little bit.
“We might be playing on a completely new strip in Adelaide, and the strip we played against Bangladesh, to be honest, didn’t spin. It was a different kind of wicket again, and it was played at Adelaide as well. .”
“Obviously, if it’s slow, we’ll play according to those situations. If we think it can play differently, then we’ll have to put together a squad to suit that,” he concluded.