After head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour gave Rishabh Pant a public dressing down over his poor shot selection, it became abundantly clear the Indian team management has started to lose patience with the swashbuckling left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman.
Rishabh Pant, barely 21, has smashed Test hundreds in England and Australia and that has helped the decision-makers keep their faith in him despite failures in the shorter formats.
But with Wriddhiman Saha back in the mix and prospects of wicket-keeping against spin at home ahead, Rishabh Pant no longer remains a certain starter even for the Test series against South Africa starting October 2.
Rishabh Pant’s below-par numbers, particularly in one day cricket (average of 22 in 12 matches) would mean he might soon be under pressure to retain his spot in the limited-overs teams. The likes of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are waiting in the wings.
But the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and now Zaheer Khan believe the current team management is equally to blame for Pant’s current problems and confusion.
“The team management should try and use him where you get the best out of him. I think his natural style is to attack. So he needs to be used where he is not left in two minds, where he knows the only thing he needs to do is the attack. If he is used in such situations, it would be good for him,” he tells India Today.
Zaheer Khan believes Rishabh Pant is not a finished product yet and the team management would need to factor that in. “With time, he will have a better understanding of his game.”
Rishabh Pant was drafted in the World Cup squad as a replacement for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan and subsequently used in the middle order after Vijay Shankar’s injury. The World Cup did not go to plan for Pant and India; with the team management squarely blamed for promoting Pant to no.4 in testing conditions in the semi-finals.
Pant has continued to bat at no.4 in subsequent matches in West Indies and at home against South Africa where he has failed to tick except in one T20 in the Caribbean. “Everyone knows the ability this player has. I think everyone has to try and make things easier for him,” says the former India pacer.