India vs South Africa: Gautam Gambhir warns Rishabh Pant, says ‘my favourite is throwing serious challenges at him’
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir raised alarm bells for India’s wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant ahead of the first T20I against South Africa at the HPCA stadium in Dharamsala on Sunday. Describing Pant as an exciting talent, Gambhir stated that the attacking left hander should be wary of another talented wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson who is throwing challenges.
Indicating Samson as a possible replacement for Pant, who had scores of 0, 4 and 65* in India’s tour to West Indies, Gambhir said Samson is his personal favourite. “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 in his column for Times of India.
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Pant has been pitted as India’s first-choice keeper considering that Dhoni has reached the twilight of his career but the Delhi keeper has so far lacked consistency particularly in the shortest format of the game.
Samson, on other hand, has been knocking on the doors for quite some time now with power-pakced performances for in the IPL and for India A.
Gambhir predicted a run-fest in Dharamsala, keeping the short boundaries and high-altitude in mind. “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,” Gambhir wrote.
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The former India opener also had some encouraging words for the likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer. “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,” Gambhir added.
India will take on South Africa, who have brought a relatively inexperienced side sans regular captain Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn. “Hosts India will be licking their lips at the idea of taking on a young, work-in-progress opposition. “It is an exciting series as there are a lot of individual battles going on considering the T20 World Cup next year,” Gambhir concluded.