The duo has failed to inspire their teams with the bat.

When the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 got underway, there were plenty of expectations and hopes from the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, not only as batters but captains as well. Both were part of the Delhi Capitals (DC) last season. Their paths as leaders intertwined when Pant took over the captaincy of Delhi last year after Iyer got injured. Even when Iyer returned, Pant retained the leadership as he had done reasonably well. 

It was a setback of sorts for Iyer as this was a team he had built. Under him, DC made the playoffs for the first time after several years. He even led them to their only final. However, Pant also guided the team to the playoffs last year. With Rohit Sharma 35, India will need to look for a new captain. Pant and Iyer were two of the candidates. But they have flattered to deceive in IPL 2022. We analyze why.

Failure to lead from the front with the bat

It goes without saying that both Pant and Iyer are two of the most talented batters on the international scene as of now. Although these are still very early stages in their career, both have shown enough glimpses of their capability. Pant helped India conquer Australia in Australia, while Iyer came in and took to Test cricket like fish to water. As such, there were humongous expectations from them when they were named captain of their respective IPL franchises. They were predicted to be among the top run-getters in the edition, given the kind of talent they possess. However, it has turned out to be quite an anti-climax as the duo has failed to inspire their teams with the bat.

Iyer has played a few good knocks, but the consistency and authority he should have shown have been missing. His struggles against the short ball were no secret in world cricket. But the way he has been found out against the bouncers has been shocking, to say the least. He has just not looked the kind of player who was touted to dominate world cricket in the years to come. And that is a worrying factor. 

For Pant, the case has been worse. He has played some impressive cameos but has been dismissed in bizarre ways and doesn’t even have a single fifty to show for his efforts so far. Captains have done well in the IPL, even when struggling on the personal front. But both Iyer and Pant lack that charisma of, say, an MS Dhoni. This is why it was absolutely paramount for them to show the way with the bat. Remember, neither of the sides have extraordinary batting line-ups. Pant and Iyer, in fact, were picked as leaders of their respective franchises because of their amazing batting prowess.

Lack of tactical acumen

Being offbeat with decision-making is both the strength and weakness of Pant and Iyer. Thus, we see Venkatesh Iyer opening with Ajinkya Rahane for KKR and Aaron Finch with Baba Indrajith. At times, Finch has also gone out with Sunil Narine. Similarly, Delhi will sometimes send Rovman Powell at No. 3 and at other times hold back Sarfaraz Khan for so long that Shardul Thakur will come in ahead of him, and the Khan doesn’t even get to bat. 

While trying something different is always welcome, it is equally important to be tactically aware. Finer details like Finch struggles against the incoming ball or Powell being a better option in the middle-order matter a lot. This is an area in which both the KKR and Delhi skippers have been found wanting. They have taken a number of decisions that have affected the team’s fortunes. Put it down to lack of experience, but this is one area they seriously need to work on going ahead.

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