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Ian Chappell hails Rishabh Pant’s batting prowess, affirms no one can replace his drive to conquer bowlers

When India takes on Australia in a four-match series next month, they will be tested to their limits in the game’s longest format. India, which is now positioned second in the rankings with 58.93 percentage points, will need to win the Test series in order to compete in the World Test Championship final in June of this year. Australia, on the other hand, has a sizable advantage, sitting atop the table with 75.56 percentage points.

Prior to the series, Rishabh Pant, one of India’s most reliable players in the format, was seriously injured in a vehicle accident last month. While Pant’s life is not in jeopardy, the injuries to his head, back, and legs will need him to miss substantial time from cricket. India has named Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as backup wicketkeepers for the first two Tests in lieu of Pant, but Australia legend Ian Chappell believes the squad will miss Pant.

“India has some things to prove as well, not the least of which being how Pant’s successor performs. The primary thing that Pant’s absence would cost India is an exceptional run rate that resulted from his aggressive approach. No one can match Pant’s ambition to dominate bowlers, therefore India must depend on their top hitters not just to succeed but also to sustain a high strike rate,” Chappell said in his essay.

Chappell feels that the Indian batsmen, particularly senior players Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and the experienced Cheteshwar Pujara, would have a significant test in dealing with Nathan Lyon. Because Indian pitches are spin-friendly, Indian hitters will have difficulty coping with Australian spinners.

“One of the most important jobs for Indian players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara would be to establish mental supremacy against Lyon. If Australia cannot rely on Lyon to claim regular wickets at a respectable rate, their bowling will be heavily reliant on the “big three,” according to Chappell.