Gautam Gambhir lashes at Indian team management for treatment over MS Dhoni's likely successor Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has been looked upon as former Indian skipper MS Dhoni's likely successor across formats. Since the 2019 World Cup, the 38-year-old has been on a sabbatical, which has reportedly extended till November, as the Indian team management is willing to give a longer rope to Pant.
Nonetheless, Pant's returns haven't been encouraging, to say the least. He struggled for runs and consistency in the West Indies tour whereas his poor shot selection was highlighted once again during the penultimate T20I between India and South Africa on Wednesday (September 18).
Following Pant's failures, batting coach Vikram Rathour and head coach Ravi Shastri had highlighted that they want to promote youngsters who can play fearlessly rather than carelessly. This hasn't been received well by former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir who lashed at the team management for their treatment over the 21-year-old.
Writing in his column for TOI, Gambhir stated, "Personally, I have always backed Sanju Samson ahead of Rishabh for wicketkeeper-batsman's role but it is disappointing to see the team-management using words like 'from fearless to careless', 'rap on Rishabh's knuckles' and 'need for a backup of Rishabh'.
This is no way to handle a young human resource. Everyone wants him to play 'sensible' cricket. I don't know what that means. What I do know is that the boy is now playing for survival rather than scoring runs. From the outside, it seems that his mindset is all over the place. Someone needs to put an arm around his shoulder and tell him that he is wanted in the team," added the former left-hander, who played a pivotal role during India's 2011 World Cup triumph.
Gambhir has, time and again, endorsed Samson's name for the wicketkeeper-batsman's role but felt disappointed with the needless pressure on Pant. The focus will once again be on the left-hander during the ongoing third and final T20I between India and South Africa in Bengaluru.
Will Pant be able to impress one and all and lead India to their first-ever home T20I series win over the Proteas?