South Africa tour of India: Pressure mounts on Rishabh Pant
Mohali: Rishabh Pant's form would be an important sub-plot when India look to seize the advantage against South Africa in the second T20 International here on Wednesday after a washout in Dharamsala effectively made the series a two-match affair.
The T20 World Cup is more than 12 months away but India captain Virat Kohli has already detailed his plans and expectations from the youngsters in the side.
The skipper did not expect to get a bagful of opportunities when he arrived on the international scene and believes the current crop of youngsters also need to make it count in the limited time they are going to get.
One of them is 21-year-old Rishabh Pant, who can't be bracketed as a youngster anymore having made his debut back in February 2017. Not a single ball was bowled in the series-opener but there was enough happening on the sidelines and most of it was focussed on Pant.
In a chat with the host broadcaster, the message for Pant from the team management was loud and clear: he can't repeatedly throw his wicket away and if he does there will be a rap on the knuckles.
"We'll let him be but at times when you see a shot, like the first ball dismissal in Trinidad (during the tour of West Indies), if he repeats that, then he will be told. There will be a rap on the knuckles, talent or no talent," said head coach Ravi Shastri ahead of the series-opener.
Considering the circumstances, it was not a surprise that Pant had a hit in the nets right after the team flew here from Dharamsala on Monday. Pressure will also be on leg-spinners Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar, both of whom have been picked ahead of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for the second straight series.