'A good idea to use him at No. 6. He can throw his bat at will': Gavaskar identifies next 'finisher' for India in ODIs

With India now suffering a series loss in the ODIs to go with a defeat in Tests, things look off colour for the Men in Blue. KL Rahul’s captaincy career for India has started on a forgettable note as under him, not only did the team lose the first two games of the ODIs, but also endured a loss in the second Test in Johannesburg.

After the final game on Sunday, India's next ODI assignment will be against the West Indies starting February 6. With Rohit Sharma returning to the fold to lead India in what would be his first series as the country’s full-time captain, roles will change and different responsibilities be assigned to individual players.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that India need to develop a finisher after MS Dhoni. For a long time, it was assumed that Hardik Pandya would take over that role, but with the all-rounder currently undergoing rehab, India might just need to look beyond him to succeed Dhoni as its designated finisher.

For Gavaskar, that person can be Rishabh Pant, who was made to bat at No. 4 in both ODIs for India. With India’s middle order cutting an unsettled figure, the legendary cricketer feels Pant can be best utilised at No. 6, despite the wicketkeeper batter scoring a handsome 85 in the second match in Paarl on Friday.

"The middle order floundered after the terrific partnership between Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, as Pant and the two Iyers (Shreyas and Venkatesh) were unable to cash in and take the team home,” Gavaskar said about the performance of the middle order after the first ODI in his column for Times of India.

"Pant, in recent times, has been used at No.4 in the ODIs where he has not quite found the right mix of patience and aggression, so maybe it might be a good idea to use him as finisher at no.6, where he can throw his bat at will without having to bother too much about the situation.”

Gavaskar also weighed in on the returning Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s form, saying the experienced pacer is lacking teeth. Bhuvneshwar endured wicketless outings in both ODIs, returning 0/64 and 0/61 in the first two matches respectively. "For some time now, Bhuvneshwar has not been able to stem the runs in the final overs like he used to," pointed out the former India captain.

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