India will take on England in the second semi-final in Adelaide on Thursday, and the former head coach believes that Pant is a match-winner and the right man for the finisher’s role.
Pant, though, got out for just three in his only appearance in the showpiece, against Zimbabwe on Sunday.
“Dinesh (Karthik) is a lovely team player. But when it comes to a game against England or New Zealand, just seeing their attack, I think you need a robust left-hander, who can turn it on and a match winner and a left-hander,” Shastri told Star Sports after India defeated Zimbabwe in their last group game.
“He has done well against England. He recently won a match on his win against England, a one-day game. I would go with Pant, not just because he played here, but because of the X-factor angle, he can bring to the semi-final.”
The former India all-rounder explained the reasons behind his choice.
“You are playing in Adelaide, short boundaries square, another reason why a left-hander should be there to disrupt the England attack. If you have too many right-handers, there is a sense of sameness to it. England have a nice attack, a varied attack of left-handers and right-handers.
“You need a left-hander in your team, who can be dangerous and win you a game in the back overs even if you have lost 3 or 4 wickets at the top,” Shastri said.