Rishabh Pant - The Curious Case Of The Inconsistencies Despite Talent
Phrases can come 'thick and fast' to define this 'diminutive and explosive' character before the wicket & a 'chatterbox' behind the stumps. The character is called Rishabh Pant -- who has, in a short stint -- looked like a 'talent in abundance' but someone who has, so far 'flattered to deceive.'
How long is this rope of fair chance?
The Indian selectors have decided to persist and give a 'long stint' to the wicketkeeper-batsman despite a 'string of inconsistent performances'. Chief selector MSK Prasad had recently said: "We have decided to give Pant a fair chance and give him a long rope to prove himself." But the question arises: how long is this rope for a 'fair chance' and has he lived up to the expectations?
While Indian captain Virat Kohli has recently said that a youngster should be given five matches to prove himself, Pant continues to enjoy a privilege beyond any such measurements.
Batting coach Vikram Rathour has drawn a line saying there is a difference between 'fearless' batting and 'careless' batting, but Pant seems to have learnt a little with his 'approach & batting style.'
'The rap on the knuckles' comment by Shastri has had little effect on Pant as he continues to play carefree and his shot selections have been rather ordinary and the manner of dismissal quite predictable.
Brian Lara, arguably one of the greatest of his generation, has described Pant as an "immatured & inexperienced cricketer playing like club cricket" while others like Sanjay Manjrekar says he has to grow and show maturity fast as other talented keepers' batsmen are 'waiting in the wings.'
In fact, there are plenty of them -- Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, Wridhiman Saha -- to name a few, among a host of others.
In all the international matches across 3 formats he played so far, Rishabh has had match-winning innings only thrice and has come up with a noteworthy contribution in another four. Apart from that either he had snapped his innings midway after showing a lot of promise or threw his wicket away before any ignition with the bat.
VVS Laxman feels Rishabh is a very talented and a special player. No Doubt.
What is the use of special talent?
But what is the use of that 'special talent' if he doesn't translate that into 'special innings' and on a consistent basis? "Consistency is key for anyone. Steve Smith may not look good before the wickets but he is the most consistent batsman in the world and not for nothing he is world no one batsman in ICC ranking ahead of Virat Kohli," Lara said during TV commentary.
In his past 10 innings across 3 formats, Pant has managed only 170 runs at an average below 19 runs while batting mostly up the order and that shows he has been given enough opportunities. But Pant, for some reasons, has refused to utilise them and translate his 'prodigious talent' into 'dynamic performances.'
Talent or no talent, if a player is letting himself & the team down, what is the use of that talent is a subject of debate. It will be good for the youngster not to be 'in the midst of a debate' that has put his position in Indian team 'under the scanner' and change his approach & style.
It's perhaps high time for Pant to 'show his mettle' and deliver 'when it matters the most.'