Reetinder Sodhi, a former all-rounder for India, has ripped into Rishabh Pant, branding him a “liability” in the T20I setup for the national team in the wake of his two defeats in the most recent New Zealand series.
“He is becoming a liability for Team India. If it’s like this, then bring in Sanju Samson. End of the day, you got to take that chance because you cannot afford to lose and exit in World Cup or ICC tournaments.
When you give too many chances, problems arise. The time has come to provide opportunities to new guys,” Reetinder Sodhi told Sportskeeda.
“Only time will tell how many opportunities and how long he gets. Time is passing and he really has to tighten his shoes. Everything has a limit. You cannot depend on one player for so long. If he is not performing, you got to show him the exit door,” Reetinder Sodhi said further.
“We all know Rishabh Pant is a match-winner, but you don’t score runs. You don’t help win your team. You got the opportunity in an important event like World Cup. I accept that initially, he didn’t get the opportunity, but whenever you get a chance, your job is to perform, which has not happened. It’s time that selectors think beyond him,” Reetinder Sodhi pointed out.
Rishabh Pant received Reetinder Sodhi’s harsh comments when he once again struggled in T20Is, this time in the third and final game of the three-match series against New Zealand in Napier.
At McLean Park, Tim Southee sent Rishabh Pant back after he had only managed to score 11 runs in 5 balls when opening the batting for India. After being dismissed for 6 from 13 deliveries in Mount Maunganui, this was his second consecutive loss in the series.
In 21 innings this season, the left-handed batter has scored 364 runs overall. Furthermore, he has only scored one fifty and his runs have come at a poor average of 21.41.
Sanju Samson, meanwhile, has 179 runs in five innings in 2022. Sanju Samson has scored runs at a respectable average of 44.75, in contrast to Rishabh Pant. In August, when the national team was touring the West Indies, he last wore an India jersey.
Before the just-finished three-match T20I series against New Zealand, supporters criticized India captain Hardik Pandya for continuing to select Rishabh Pant rather than Sanju Samson.
Sanju Samson’s exclusion from the team by Hardik Pandya infuriated supporters of the Indian cricket team. Some went so far as to refer to him as an “insecure captain,” and others charged him with a bias for selecting the side based on his relationships with particular individuals.
Despite receiving harsh criticism, Hardik Pandya defended his choice and even added that as the team captain, he has the authority to select his players.
“This is my team, firstly. The coach [VVS Laxman, in this case] and I will pick the team we feel is right,” he said after the series. “And there’s a lot of time, everyone will get a chance, and when they do, they will get an extended run.
But it’s difficult since this was a short series. If it had been a long series, more players would have got a chance,” Hardik Pandya said in a press conference after the third T20I between the Men in Blue and the Kiwis ended in a tie in Napier.
“If they are sitting out Sanju Samson, for example: we wanted to play him, but for whatever reason, we couldn’t. But I can get into their shoes and understand how they are feeling.
As a cricketer, it is difficult, whatever one might say. You are in the Indian team, but you are not getting a chance in the XI, so that’s difficult. At the end of the day, I can say whatever I want, but those will just be words. It will still be difficult for them to deal with.
But if I can create a healthy environment, where the players can come and speak to me if they are feeling bad, or go and speak to the coach, if I remain the captain, I think it won’t be a problem. Because my nature is such that I make sure everyone is together,” Hardik Pandya explained.
In the meantime, Saba Karim, a former India wicketkeeper, claimed that Rishabh Pant has a tonne of potential. He hasn’t performed well in T20Is, despite the team management’s continued belief that he is a tremendous talent in every format of the game.
“Rishabh Pant has been tried at different positions because he has failed to deliver on those particular spots. The team management still believes he has an incredible talent to perform in T20 cricket,” Saba Karim told India News.
“This situation wouldn’t have arrived if they had played him in a particular position. He has got plenty of opportunities. I think it s time for a lot of discussions,” Saba Karim signed off.