Rishabh Pant, who remains a crucial element of the Indian team across all three formats, has managed just 40 runs in the last three T20 games averaging a pathetic 13.33.
India may have plugged the gaps in the third T20I at Visakhapatnam but the pressure still remains on stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant, who hasn’t clicked with the willow in his first-ever stint as captain of the national side. The 24-year-old stumper will look for a substantial knock when the home team takes on South Africa in another must-win Twenty20 game in Rajkot on Friday.
Rishabh Pant Has Got Stuck A Lot And He Has To Perform In T20Is Amidst Lot Of Competition Among Keepers: Irfan Pathan
The Proteas bowling attack hasn’t allowed free-flowing Rishabh Pant to find his mojo. The stand-in captain has been caught in the deep multiple times in an attempt to smack the ball. He scored just six in the previous T20I before falling prey to a Dwaine Pretorius slower delivery.
As Rishabh Pant faces a stiff challenge in the remaining two games, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has underlined how the team has got plenty of options at its disposal. Irfan Pathan feels Rishabh Pant can’t keep his bat quiet when there is intense competition for a place in the eleven.
“He has got stuck a lot, you will have to perform. As of now, you are doing the captaincy but it is possible that going forward a time might come where you might have to work hard to play in the XI,” Irfan said during a discussion.
“You already have Dinesh Karthik and Ishan Kishan as wicketkeepers in the playing XI and Sanju Samson is waiting, and KL Rahul (who can keep) is a name who I will always keep in my playing XI. I feel he (Rahul) is the best cricketer. So there is a lot of competition, you cannot keep your bat quiet for too long,” he further added.
With as many as four wicketkeeper-batters in contention in Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, and Dinesh Karthik, it will be interesting to see how many get the nod for the upcoming 2022 T20I World Cup. KL Rahul who was injured before the ongoing South Africa series is another option for the keeper’s slot and will certainly make the World Cup squad if fit.
Rishabh Pant Is A Superstar Player: Irfan Pathan
Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa so far, having registered scores of 29, 5, and 6. His shot selection has also come under the scanner. The aggressive batter had a poor IPL 2022 campaign as well. Leading the Delhi Capitals (DC), he scored 340 runs in 14 matches with a best of 44.
“The T20 game is his, that’s what I believe. There is no doubt that Rishabh Pant is a superstar player. He is a 24-year-old boy, if he plays for the next 10 years, he can become the most fantastic cricketer but that result has not come till now.”
“I feel he tries to muscle the ball a lot when he plays on the off side. When you try to put the same power that you put while playing on the leg side while losing your shape, there will be problems. He is trying to hit too hard and hitting the ball in the air. Play along the ground there and hit in the air on the leg side,” added the World Cup-winning all-rounder.
Ishan Kishan has scored 164 runs averaging 54.67 in the 3 T20Is against South Africa and is the leading run-getter, while Dinesh Karthik has scored 37 runs averaging 37. Although Rishabh Pant has managed 40 runs, he averages only 13.33. In his T20I career, Rishabh Pant has scored 723 runs in 46 T20Is at a low average and strike rate of 23.32 and 125.95 respectively with three half-centuries to his name.