Unnecessary pressure being put on Rishabh Pant: Ajit Agarkar calls criticism 'bit too harsh
Going against the tide, former Indian cricketer Ajit Agarkar opined that unnecessary pressure is being put on the young shoulders of Rishabh Pant and feels that the ongoing criticisms raged at the youngsters are a bit too harsh. Pant is presently being criticised for his dipping T20I form where he has managed only 77 runs in his last six innings which includes five single-digit scores.
Agarkar is rather shocked at the criticism against Pant who has scored two Test centuries away from home. "I cannot believe that there is so much talk around a guy who has two Test hundreds away from India and who can play impactful innings. T20 can sometimes get you into trouble because you have to play shots and the ball was there to be hit, only the execution was not probably to what he would have liked," said the former cricketer in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.
Agarkar also feels that the management needs to decide if Pant should bat at No.4 or at No.5 in the T20I batting lineup. He is of the opinion that in-form Shreyas Iyer can be brought in at No.4 and Pant can be pushed down the order which could subsequently take the pressure off him.
"You also need to decide what you need from him. Do you want him to be a number 4 batsman who bats through the innings or you want him tpo be that imapctful player and you are ready for those sorts of dismissals? But there is too much talk of it. Maybe Shreyas Iyer, who has shown some good form, can come at No.4 and Pant could be dropped down the order and be asked to play freely. India can take pressure of him. There is some unnecessary pressure put on that guy who is very young in his international career and has the potential to win games for India," he added.
Earlier, ahead of the start of the T20I series against South Africa, head coach Ravi Shastri rebuked Pant for his rash shot selections during crunch situations. And newly-appointed batting coach Vikram Rathour felt that the youngster needs to differentiate between being careless and fearless.
Barring his unbeaten 65 against West Indies in the third T20I, Pant has managed scores of 3, 1 (against Australia), 0, 4 (against the West Indies) and 4 (against Proteas in 2nd T20I).
Following his dismal show in India's last T20I game, chief Indian selector MSK Prasad said that back-up wicketkeepers are being trained to take the workload pressure off Pant. However, he did add that Pant will remain the primary choice for the team.