Too much responsibility and expectations being put on Rishabh Pant, believes Zaheer Khan
Ever since the 2019 ICC World Cup concluded, Rishabh Pant's name has come into the spotlight. The young wicket-keeper batsman is seen as the first-choice player who can fill the big void left by MS Dhoni, when the latter decides to retire from international cricket. A string of unimpressive performances has raised doubts in the minds of fans and pundits but as far as former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan is concerned, the 21-year-old is being put under 'too much' pressure.
'Poor shot selection', 'careless rather than fearless', such terms have been used for Pant as critics have come down heavy on his performances for the Indian team. The talk of him being the 'next Dhoni' is slowly fizzling out with even the selection committee getting ready to try the likes of Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson in place of Pant.
Zaheer, however, has asked for a more patient approach to be taken where Pant's talent is protected and used in a way which will help hm thrive rather than pushing him into situations where he is asked to curb his natural instincts.
“For me it's pretty simple, he's a great talent, which everyone will agree with. It's just about protecting that talent, providing a platform to that talent to flourish. It's in the team management's hands to use him in situations where things are simplified for him rather than curbing his natural instincts or putting him in a scenario where he has to think too much or adapt or act otherwise by his natural instincts.
“It's about using him in situations where there is not much of thinking needed but you have to play just aggressively because that's his natural instinct. And as he adapts to the different conditions or as he evolves as a player, you can put more responsibility on him,” Zaheer was quoted as saying.
As far as the current situation goes, the former Indian pacer believes that too much pressure is being put on Pant despite the fact that this is only the start of his career.
“I think right now too much responsibility and expectations are put on him just by sheer glimpses of what he can achieve,” he further said.
The forthcoming Test series between India and South Africa will give Pant another opportunity to showcase his talent. A failure against the Proteas, however, might see some fresh faces being tried by the team management for the wicket-keeper's role.