Former England player Kevin Pietersen thinks Jitesh Sharma, the wicket-keeper batsman for Punjab Kings (PBKS), has a chance to replace Rishabh Pant on the Indian national cricket team.
Pant was a crucial member of the national Test team but is currently sidelined indefinitely due to a car accident. He played a significant role in both the ODI and T20 teams. His absence will undoubtedly leave a big gap in the Indian national team across all thre e game types.
Since making his IPL debut in 2022, Jitesh’s finishing abilities have received recognition. In his first season, Sharma was a keeper-batter who amassed 234 runs at a strike rate of 163. Due to Jonny Bairstow and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s absences this season, he has frequently been used as a finisher but has also been moved up the lineup frequently. With four sixes in his seven-ball inning against the Mumbai Indians (MI), he once again showcased his pow er-hitting prowess. He has a strike rate of nearly 150 and has scored 145 runs in seven innings so far this season.
If Rishabh Pant is anticipated to be out for a long time, Pietersen said in his Pakistan column that Jitesh would be a great backup choice.
“India has their Rishabh Pant replacement. Jitesh Sharma, the wicket-keeper from Punjab Kings, is also something special. I think he could be the guy who takes over from Rishabh Pant for India if Pant is out for a while longer. His 25 off seven balls, including four sixes, against Mumbai on Saturday was match-winning,” Pietersen wrote.
Pant has scored over 2200 runs in 33 Test matches at an average of 43, scoring 11 half-centuries and 5 centuries. Whoever gets the chance to take Pant’s place in the national team will have large shoes to fill. While amassing nearly 900 runs at an average of 35 in 30 ODI games, notching five half-centuries and a single century. Pant is anticipated to be out for an additional seven to eight months, therefore it seems unlikely that he will be fit until 2024.
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