Former India opener Gautam Gambhir reckons young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant should be more consistent with the bat as the team management has shown a lot of faith in him in the recent past.
On Sunday, Pant scored 71 runs off 69 balls and alongside Shreyas Iyer (70), shared a crucial partnership of 114 runs for the fourth wicket to help India post a 288-run target in the first ODI of the three-match rubber in Chennai. However, their efforts went in vain as Shimron Hetmyer (139) and Shai Hope (102) scored blistering centuries and helped the visitors chase down the total with 13 balls to spare.
Speaking on Pant's performances from the game at Nerolac Cricket Live show exclusively on Star Sports, Gambhir said: "He (Pant) needs to be consistent, he is playing in all three formats. He is not playing Test cricket but he is part of the squad which shows the faith from the team management - but he still needs to get more consistent. He needs to convert the 60-70s into 100 as well, that's what MS Dhoni used to do a lot as well."
Ever since Pant replaced M.S. Dhoni in the limited-overs circuit, he has been criticised by many, be it for his batting, wicket-keeping skills or be his role when it comes to reviews.
"Even if he (Pant) would not get those big 100s, he would be their righty till the end," added the former opener.
Meanwhile, commenting on Iyer's batting from 1st ODI, Gambhir said: "He (Iyer) has waited for this opportunity for a long time, and now he is taking those big shots. I really want him to convert those 60s - 70s to a 100 and that is what will make him exceptional from the rest of the middle-order batsmen. That is what Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul do, Shreyas Iyer needs to that as well."
"He has scored 3-4 half-centuries but he hasn't converted any of them into a 100. He needs to get one 100, because once you get that one international 100, you start enjoying the pace of that and then they keep coming, till the time you don't get one international 100 you will never know how it feels like to get that for your country," expressed the 38-year-old.
Trailing 0-1, Team India will look to level the three-match series when the two teams face off each other in the second ODI to be played at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.