As India attempted to make a comeback in the T20I series against South Africa in Cuttack, all eyes were on Rishabh Pant. Many seasoned Indian cricketers chastised Pant’s leadership after the Men in Blue failed to defend 211 in New Delhi earlier this week and lost by seven wickets to South Africa in the series opener. Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra believes Pant made another error in his bowling approach in the second T20I against the Proteas, which India lost by four wickets to fall 0-2 in the five-match series.

South Africa has reduced to 29 for three after the powerplay thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s outstanding stint of 3 for 10 with the new ball. Pant inserted Yuzvendra Chahal against Heinrich Klaasen and Temba Bavuma, two right-handed pitchers.

After the game, Nehra told Cricbuzz that Pant should have brought in left-arm spinner Axar Patel into the mix since he had two right-handers in the middle. The captain, on the other hand, chose Chahal, Hardik Pandya, and Harshal Patel to face two batsmen. And by the time Axar arrived, the two seemed to be in good shape.

“Depending on the circumstances in Vizag, changes to the starting XI may be made. Rishabh Pant should also have a look after detaining Axar Patel for so long. At the time, there were two right-handed hitters. There’s no reason why Axar Patel wasn’t awarded an over at the time, in my opinion “Nehra said.

Parthiv Patel, a former Indian wicket-keeper who was there at the meeting, said, “In such scenarios, reading the game becomes critical, particularly in this format. Klassen was having trouble at first and had to shift gears. Despite his excellent spin performance today, there was a chance to pit Axar Patel against him.”