'He should become a performer,' Virender Sehwag on what Rishabh Pant can learn from MS Dhoni
It was never going to be easy for anyone let alone 21-year-old Rishabh Pant to seamlessly fill the huge shoes of veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni, who is unarguably into the final lap of his glorious career with the Indian team. Pant has the talent, skills and the x-factor that makes him an attractive candidate when the debate of taking over from Dhoni arises. However, the young wicket-keeper batsman, who is in his into his third year of international cricket, is yet to prove his credentials across formats.
Of late, Pant has been heavily criticised for his reckless shot selection and the failure to convert good starts into big innings. Pant was also given a public dressing down by head coach Ravi Shastri and newly-appointed batting coach Vikram Rathour. Cheif of selection committee MSK Prasad also asserted that India will look beyond the left-hander if he fails to deliver.
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who was known for his swashbuckling and fearless style of batting, believes Pant has the skills to be a mainstay in the Indian side for the next 15 years but he insisted that the left-hander should not hesitate in tinkering around with his natural instincts to become a better performer and attain consistency across formats.
Sehwag cited his own example along with that of Dhoni himself, explaining what Pant can learn from the former Indian captain. The ex-opener also stressed that Pant needs to be backed by the team management and the captain to overcome the struggling phase.
“I flopped in 20 innings before I scored. But then I had the support of the team management. I could regain form because of that support without changing my game. Similarly, MS (Dhoni) played his natural game and India lost a match which prompted skipper (Rahul) Dravid to speak to MS," Sehwag was quoted as saying in an interview.
“It brought about a change. MS became a performer as Rahul wanted him to. Of course, he did curtail his natural game and learnt the art of finishing the game. I think Pant should also look to become a performer. He should concentrate on his shot selection. He has awesome talent and if improves his shot selection, I am sure he will serve India for the next 15 years," he added.
Pant, who has so far played 11 Tests, 12 ODIs and 20 T20Is for India, remains the only Indian wicket-keeper batsman to have scored centuries in England and Australia in Tests. He was trusted as the no.4 batsman in the World Cup after Shikhar Dhawan's injury and returned with decent numbers - scoring 116 runs in 4 games.
He was far from impressive on India's tour of West Indies and couldn't make much of an impact against South Africa in the couple of T20Is. Pant will now have his next chance to bounce back in the Test series against the Proteas, which gets underway from October 02.