Indian cricket team head coach, Ravi Shastri has explained where Rishabh Pant is losing out on the spot, saying that despite carrying a reputation of being a hard-hitter, the youngster is not a natural wicketkeeper.
Pant, since his arrival in international cricket, is known for his explosive style of play, but that trait of his has rather been overshadowed by his substandard wicketkeeping abilities. Touted by many as an heir to MS Dhoni, the 22-year-old has done little to live up the hype, resulting in him losing his spot to the in-form KL Rahul.
Rahul, who provides India with a stable batting strength across several positions, has nailed his place into the side with his brilliant form with the bat, and following a concussion to Pant during India’s first ODI against Australia, the Karanataka man has proved out to be a reliable man behind the stumps as well.
As for the 22-year-old, he has been under the scanner for a long time now, even losing his spot in Test cricket to Wriddhiman Saha. And as things stand, head coach Ravi Shastri has said that the needs to work really hard if he tends to fight for a place in the starting XI.
"He has a reputation of being a devastating player, big hitter. That is what he has to get used to. Every time he comes to bat, the crowd expects sixes off everything. This is where he has to manage his game properly," Ravi Shastri told the Sportstar.
“I would not like to change his game for anything. We tell him to try and understand his game, be selective in shot-making, see what the team demands are, assess the state of the game, figure out a way of how he can play - by still being aggressive but by taking calculated risks.
"He has to work really hard on his wicketkeeping. He is not a natural 'keeper but he's got all that talent which go to waste if he doesn't work on his keeping. I think he has realised that and if you see him now, he is working extremely hard on his 'keeping as well."
Post World Cup, the selection committee chairman M.S.K. Prasad clearly mentioned that India are moving on from MS Dhoni, and in doing so, they are focusing more on Pant. Since then though, Pant has somehow lost his touch even with the bat and apart from that 71 against West Indies in December last year, he has failed to prove his worth.
As far as his wicketkeeping his concerned, he has time and fumbled in tight situations and even his DRS calls have been substandard, to say the least.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar