'One-trick pony' Rishabh Pant needs to improve his off-side game, says Dean Jones
Rishabh Pant has been making headlines for all wrong reasons. While he was dropped from the Test side, in the home series against South Africa, after a poor outing in the West Indies, Pant’s torrid run of form has extended to the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh. Not only that, Pant’s decision-making behind the stumps has been questioned by almost every former cricketers and fans following his DRS howlers in the Delhi T20I versus Bangladesh. Former Australia cricketer turned expert Dean Jones feels Pant is still learning his craft while terming him as ‘one-trick pony’.
Jones said that Pant is still a young kid who still doesn’t know what is going around. The former Aussie cricketer added that the youngster needs to work more on his off-side game while adding it wouldn’t take long to enhance his off-side game if put on a very specific training program straightaway.
"He's still a young kid, still learning his craft, still doesn't know what's going on a little bit," Jones was quoted as saying by Reuters.
"He needs to work more on his strokeplay through the offside. At the moment, he's just a bit of a one-trick pony. We know he's got an off-side game, he's just got to work more. It wouldn't take long to change but he needs to be very specific in his training program right now," Jones added.
The Aussie great further cited the example of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, who was the top-scorer for his side in the recently concluded T20I series against India. Jones said there was a weak point in de Kock’s game in relation to his off-side stroke-playing, however, the Proteas glovesman worked hard on his game and didn’t let the Indians exploit that spot.
"Quinton de Kock changed his game, that was very evident in the last T20 series against India," said Jones, who played 52 tests and 164 one-day internationals for Australia. Everyone thought he struggled to hit the ball between point and mid-off and they bowled there. But through lots of net practice and good technique work, he hit a lot of boundaries. And all of a sudden they couldn't line him up properly because he had other options to score," Jones said.
Even though Pant is arguably one of the most talented young batsmen, his form has dipped miserably since the completion of ICC World Cup 2019. Jones, analysing Pant’s recent form, said that if a player is going through a tough patch then he starts doubting his strokeplay while adding everyone wants Pant to be a 360-degree player but at the moment he is only 180.
"When you are going through a bad phase you start doubting your strokeplay. Ultimately you've got to go with the gut feeling when you play T20 cricket. And at the moment I think he's second-guessing his talents,” Jones said.
"We want him to be a 360-degree style player but at the moment he feels to me that he's only 180. He only scores down the ground or on the leg side and once you get a player doing that, you can control them and shut them down," he added.