Rishabh Pant's keeping has come under the scanner after his mistakes against Bangladesh in the second T20I in Rajkot but former India wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra feels people are reading too much into it. Ratra is the current wicketkeeping coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and according to him, Pant's mistake against Bangladesh was not because of a mistake in his stance but curiosity... which happens while keeping at times.
Pant's struggles behind the stumps is not a new topic. Pant has often struggled to keep wickets to the likes of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on turning tracks and same with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. It's never easy to keep to such world-class tweakers on dust bowls at times but, what Pant did in Rajkot, would force anyone to stand up and take note. While keeping to Chahal, he stumped Liton Das on 17 after Chahal completely outfoxed the batsman. But, the umpires went for the replays and videos showed that he collected the ball in front of the stumps and dislodged the bails to complete the stumping, thus, the wicket being overruled and the ball being declared a no-ball.
Few overs later he did manage to do some smart thinking and run Liton out but, once again, the worrying thing is, he failed to grab the ball first time off the spinner. Few overs later, once again, as Chahal outsmarted Soumya Sarkar and Pant completed the stumping, the tv umpire was called in and videos showed that his hands were touch and go as he completed the stumping. However, this time, Sarkar wasn't as lucky as Liton and was ruled out.
But, Ratra, who has also worked with Wriddhiman Saha at the NCA during the latter's recovery from injury, feels that Pant is stance is fine.
"If you look at the whole incident, you will find Rishabh Pant comfortably completing the stumping. But sometimes when the wicketkeeper sees that the batsman going out of the crease, he tries to get him out as soon as possible. This is what happened to Pant. He moved his hands forward eagerly and collected the ball over the stumps and was ruled a no-ball," Ratra said.
"If you talk about Pant's keeping stance, he is right. I don't think there is much to change about it. Once the hand went forward and people feel that he is standing far ahead... nothing like that," he added.
However, the 37-year-old did add that Pant can improve by working on his body balance, something that will allow him to catch balls better while standing close to the stumps.
"If Pant has to avoid such mistakes, then he will have to be a little serious. Not only that if he works on body balance while wicketkeeping, then it will be easier for him to catch the balls," said Ratra, who has played 6 Tests and 12 ODIs for India from April 2002 to September 2002.
The Haryana-born keeper also called for patience from the fans and cited Mahendra Singh Dhoni's example.
"Rishabh has steadily improved since he stepped into Team India. He has kept in England as well. In front of me, he has improved himself greatly. If you see Dhoni in his early days, he too seemed to have a little weakness. But over time he became adept in this art. Pant should also be given some time. He has a lot of talent in him. I hope he will soon come out," Ratra explained.