Am I there only to play tabla? Ravi Shastri defends pulling up Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has been struggling to convert his starts into big scores (AP Photo)
- Ravi Shastri said Rishabh Pant will be given the time he needs to shine
- Pant has been struggling to get big scores in international cricket
- Shastri said Pant will get all the backing he needs from the team management
India head coach Ravi Shastri has said it is his responsibility to pull up players when things are not going their way while referring to criticism that had come his way for his stern comments on Rishabh Pant.
Ravi Shastri had said there would be a "rap on the knuckles" while addressing the concerns around Rishabh Pant's poor run of form in international cricket. Pant has been going through a lean patch since 2019 World Cup. The young wicketkeeper-batsman has been reckless with shot selection and has been repeating his mistakes.
Following the string of low scores in the West Indies tour, batting coach Vikram Rathour said youngsters in the team need to understand the fine line between careless and fearless approach while talking about Pant's problems when it came to maintaining his temperament.
While defending his take on Rishabh Pants struggles, Ravi Shastri said the team management will back the young wicketkeeper-batsman to the hilt.
"Don't say team management, I spoke about 'the rap on the knuckles'. If someone goofs up, I have to pull them up. Am I there only to play tabla? But this guy is world class, this guy can be destructive, can be a destroyer. And we will give him all the support that he needs to prosper in international cricket," Ravi Shastri told Hindustan Times.
"Pant is different, he is world class and is a brutal match-winner. Very few around in the world game; I can't pick five on my hands when it comes to white-ball cricket, T20 cricket. So the patience we will have with him is a lot.
"All your media reports and all the experts writing (but) Pant is in great space with this Indian team. Experts, they have a job, they can speak. Pant is a special kid and he has already done enough. And he is only going to learn. This team management will back him to the hilt."
Shastri's comments come after former opener Gautam Gambhir said he was disappointed with the recent statements made by the team management on Rishabh Pant.
Rishabh Pant struggled in the T20I series against South Africa wherein he got out for 4 and 19 after coming out to bat at No. 4 on both the occasions. With MS Dhoni not making himself available for international assignments after the World Cup, Pant has gotten an extended run in limited-overs cricket but his reckless approach is frustrating to watch.
Meanwhile, former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has said supressing Rishabh Pant's natural ability is not the right way forward. Stressing Pant needs to be given an extended run in international cricket, Yuvraj Singh said there's still a long way to go for the T20 World Cup in 2020.
"MS Dhoni was not made in a day. It took a few years so it will take a few years for a replacement also. There is one year to go for the T20 World Cup so that is still a long time," Yuvraj Singh said as quoted by IANS.