Rishabh Pant’s poor run of form continued in the T20I series against South Africa. In the third and final game of the series, Pant played a reckless shot yet again and was dismissed on 19, drawing more criticism from fans and experts.
Ahead of the final T20I, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, while acknowledging that Pant’s shot-selection is immature, has called for the team management to give him some breathing space.
In a column for English newspaper Mid-day, Gavaskar suggested that the 21-year-old could be slotted at number 5 in T20Is, which would give him more freedom.
“Giving him a bit of breathing space by slotting him at No. 5 could also help, for at that number he will invariably come in to bat where his aggressive batting is needed from the start rather than when he has to build his and the team’s innings,” Gavasjar wrote.
“Just like a little tweak in the grip can make a world of difference to a player as a bowler or as batsman, so also a little tweak in the batting order could change the fortunes of a player.”
The Indian great was also critical of the recent public criticism of Rishabh Pant from coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli. The Indian head coach even said that Pant will be given a ‘rap on the knuckles’ if he remains irresponsible in his shot selection.
“With experience he will be better at shot selection and will be more consistent but right now he needs a hand around his shoulders rather than a public dressing down. The most important thing for the young man to understand is that he has to play according to the situation and not according to the expectations of the public,” wrote Gavaskar.
“The talented young man is going through the second-season blues which most players go through. In the first season, there’s not that much information about the player and so he can sail through without much difficulty but by the time the second season starts, there is more data and info available not just through the recorded matches but also through the cricketing grapevine. So the opposition is better primed.”