Rajkumar Sharma, Virat Kohli’s former coach, is the most recent former cricketer to criticize India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant for his recent lack of production.“Rishabh Pant’s on-field performances have not been satisfactory at all. It is very unfortunate, as he has been given a long rope by the team management.
We all know how Virat Kohli showed great faith in Pant during his captaincy. And even after that, he kept on getting many chances. While he has done quite well in red-ball cricket, he has failed to deliver in white-ball cricket,” Rajkumar Sharma said during a discussion on India News.
“There is no harm in going back and playing domestic cricket when you are not in form. It is always better to work on your basics if you can see that you are struggling in terms of stroke-making. He should play domestic cricket and then make a comeback to the national side,” Rajkumar Sharma summed up.
Notably, Rishabh Pant has received criticism for his limited-overs performance despite being the only Indian wicketkeeper batter to reach the century mark in South Africa, England, and Australia in the game’s longest format.
The left-hand attacking hitter struggled to get going in the T20I and ODI series against New Zealand, which ended on Wednesday. As a result, he finished the tour with only 42 runs in four innings across the two formats.
In his four innings in New Zealand, Rishabh Pant scored a disappointing 10, 6, 11, and 15 runs. Even the renowned Krishnamachari Srikkanth criticized Rishabh Pant for squandering his opportunity and pleaded with the national selectors to bench him.
“Perhaps you should give Pant a break and urge him to “just wait a bit, come and play in India” because they haven’t treated him well. Are you going to remove him after one or two games or will you wait until he has played in a few games? According to Krishnamachari Srikanth’s YouTube account.
“Yes, Rishabh Pant is wasting the opportunities he has. I’m really bummed out – en nada Pant-u (what’s this Pant?),” he continued.
“You are squandering these opportunities. You’ll do well if you smash into these matches, right? Coming up is the World Cup. It will only stoke the fire since many people have already complained that Pant isn’t scoring, according to Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
He’ll put pressure on himself, I’m sure. He needs to rethink who he is. He must act appropriately; he must first stand and play for a bit before going for it. He often wastes his wicket, Krishnamachari Srikkanth observed.
Aakash Chopra, a former India opener, had similar sentiments when he claimed that Rishabh Pant has the talent, but had not yet reached his full potential.
He added that the left-hander still needed to perform well in limited-overs cricket and that the Indian team management would soon need to decide whether to keep him in the national ODI and T20I sides.
Aakash Chopra wrote on his YouTube channel, “As of now, everyone feels that he (Pant) is a special player, incredibly talented, and is an X-factor kind of batsman, but he hasn’t lived up to the reputation in white-ball cricket so far.
“Rishabh Pant is not just India’s but also the world’s finest wicketkeeper-batter in Tests right now. He played some of the most exciting and significant innings of any top-order batter, let alone a keeper. However, the reality is that, given the opportunity he had, he did not perform all that well in ODIs and T20s, according to the former India opener.
Despite Rishabh Pant’s recent slump, India captain Shikhar Dhawan and head coach VVS Laxman wanted to keep the southpaw in the lineup for a few more games because they see him as a match-winner.
“It’s not that tough. Like in Rishabh’s case, he played the one-dayers in England and scored a century there. And a player who gets a 100 gets backing. Everything is done keeping the larger picture in mind.
If there is a match-winner, you have to back him. A decision is taken after analysing a lot of things,” Shikhar Dhawan explained his decision during the post-match press conference after the third game of the ODI series was called off due to inclement weather with the Kiwis winning the series 1-0.
“Of course, Sanju is doing really well. Whatever opportunities he has gotten, he has done well but sometimes despite performing well, a player has to wait because the one before him has been doing well. The skill he (Pant) has, we know that he is a match-winner.
Certain cushioning needs to be given that cushioning when he isn’t performing. So that cushioning is given to that player,” Shikhar Dhawan signed off.
“It’s about giving them opportunities and also informing them whenever they aren’t picked. Pant has been doing well at no.4, not too long ago he scored an important century at Old Trafford and it’s important to back him.
T20 cricket has given batters more confidence about clearing the grounds no matter how big the outfields are, they also work a lot with the range-hitting,” VVS Laxman said in an interaction with Prime Video.