Rishabh Pant has had a rough time in Team India colours over the past few months. The youngster has been inconsistent with his performances across formats for the side, and fans and experts alike have been critical of his dynamic style of batting.
Pant registered scores of 4 and 65* in the T20I series against West Indies, but failed to make a mark in ODIs, scoring 20 and 0 in the two innings.
The 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is touted as a replacement for MS Dhoni and has been entrusted upon by skipper Virat Kohli and the team management, and so, the criticism over his raw batting has significantly increased over the last few weeks.
Former Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir, in his column for The Times of India, talked about Rishabh Pant, stating that the player now faces ‘serious challenges’ for his place in the side.
“Rishabh Pant is always exciting but he has to watch his back as my favourite Sanju Samson is throwing some serious challenges at him,” Gambhir wrote.
Sanju Samson, who most-recently appeared for India A against South Africa A, impressed with a 48-ball 91 which led the side to victory in the fifth one-day at Thiruvananthapuram.
Talking about the first T20I in Dharamsala between India and South Africa, Gambhir said that the one can expect a high-scoring game.
“Dharamshala is not a very big arena. And being at the higher altitude, the science guys tell me that the ball travels faster because the air is thin. All this means there will be plenty of boundaries if the pitch is good for batting,” wrote the former Indian opener.
Manish Pandey was the first choice for the number 4 position in the T20I series against West Indies, but Gambhir insisted that the series against South Africa will be another opportunity for batsmen like Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul to push for a place in the middle-order.
“It is another opportunity for young Indian batsmen to cement their place in the side. Manish Pandey looks much younger than his age of 29. Shreyas Iyer explained enough in the West Indies that he is a great deal more than the ‘South Bombay’ swag. KL Rahul is a force in white-ball format,” wrote Gambhir.