batsman Rishabh Pant. Life has turned upside down for Pant in the New Year. Pitted as India’s No.1 ‘keeper in all three formats even till October last year, Pant has now been reduced to the second option at best in all three formats. In T20Is, he is perhaps not even the second choice now as India went in with Sanju Samson in the last two matches New Zealand and also opened with him while KL Rahul continued to keep wickets. Former India World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, however, said Pant should not be disheartened.
Pant lost his place in the side after suffering a concussion during the first ODI against Australia. Pant regained his fitness in the third ODI but was not included in the side as KL Rahul did a fabulous job both with the bat and gloves on his hands. India decided to continue with Rahul as the keeper as it gave more balance to the side allowed Virat Kohli to play an extra batsman.
“Pant will get his chance but he has to make sure, he grabs that one. I would tell Pant not to get disheartened and prove people wrong by saying there’s still a lot of cricket left in him,” Kapil Dev told ABP News.
The former India all-rounder gave Sunil Gavaskar’s example and advised Pant to be patient.
“I always like to give Sunil Gavaskar’s example. He used to say if you want to make a 100 then get to 20 first, then 25, 50, 60 and go on. So Rishabh Pant has to think that way. He shouldn’t think too far ahead. His target should be the next 5-10 matches and see how he performs. There’s no shortage of talent. So if he performs, no one can stop him,” said Kapil when asked whether Pant now has been reduced to the second choice keeper at best.
Pant had shown glimpses of his potential with the bat in the West Indies series where he scored 71 in the first ODI. But 23-yar-old left-hander has not done justice to his talent both as keeper and as a batsman in T20Is.
“The responsibility is on Rishabh Pant. We all know he’s immensely talented. But he has to make the most of the chances he gets, whether at No.1 or No. 10, you always have to keep performing. There was a time when Rahul was questioned for getting a lot of chances but that’s because there was talent,” added Kapil.
Kapil also added that India should go back to playing a specialist wicket-keeper instead of trying to fit in KL Rahul in that role.
“It’s a bit odd that this situation has arrived. Dravid has done it in the past. But in today’s time, there should be a genuine wicket-keeper. The fit-in type of scenario shouldn’t happen. No need to adjust but I guess the team management must have different thinking. It is easy for us to say anything sitting outside,” Kapil said when was asked whether Rahul should play as a batsman and Pant as a keeper.
Meanwhile, India beat New Zealand by 7 runs in the final T20I to become the first Test-playing nation to win a T20I series 5-0. The two sides will again lock horns in a three-match ODI series starting on Wednesday.