Sourav support for Pant
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has come to the defence of the struggling Rishabh Pant, saying the young ’keeper should be given time to fulfil his potential.
The limited overs wicketkeeper had a forgettable outing in Indore on Thursday committing basic errors behind the stumps as India cantered to an eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh.
He “stumped” Liton Das in Yuzvendra Chahal’s first over, but video replays showed he had collected the ball in front of the stumps. This turned out to be the most talked-about of his several other errors during the match.
At his home ground in Delhi too, Pant faltered, scoring 27 off 26 balls and made errors in judging DRS calls as India suffered their first-ever loss against Bangladesh in a T20I.
But Sourav backed Pant. “He’s a superb player. Give Rishabh Pant time, he will be fine,” the former India captain, who worked closely with the 21-year-old at Delhi Capitals, said. “He will mature slowly, you have to give him time. India played really well last night.”
India play the final T20I of the series in Nagpur on Sunday. The team will play 10 more T20Is against West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the build-up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October-November next year.
Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara has advised Pant to keep things simple while batting as well as keeping if he wants to regain his lost confidence after a string of failures.
“It’s important for him (Pant) to keep things simple and understand his weakness. Once he is able to work on these areas, he needs to strategise and plan, because for him right now he needs to keep things simple and not be under pressure,” said the 42-year-old former Sri Lanka captain.
“It’s also important for someone to talk to him on his batting and keep him off the pressure and let him be free with his game,” he said during a show on Star Sports.
Sangakkara felt Pant needs to be “neat and tidy behind the stumps” as the youngster has been struggling.
“As a wicketkeeper, it’s important to be neat and tidy behind the stumps which will give him confidence and put him in a better position to help his captain in calling for reviews,” said Sangakkara.
“If you are looking at the World Cup it’s important for him (Pant) to understand what his role is in terms of helping his captain with the right information.”
Former India batting stalwart VVS Laxman agreed with Sangakkara but said Pant’s batting was a cause for concern. “I think till the IPL the selectors can experiment especially around the bowling department. As far as batting is concerned, I think Rishabh will be under the scanner,” he said.
Laxman said at this crucial juncture, a cricketer needs the backing and support of the team management and national selectors. “It’s also important for the selection committee and team management to give confidence and not let the players think of each game as if it’s an audition for the World Cup,” the 45-year-old said.
“If they are playing their game with that mindset, then they are restricting themselves to not play their natural game. The mindset should be more of representing their country,” Laxman added.