Rishabh Pant, who led the side in the five-match series against South Africa that ended in a 2-2 draw after the last game was called off due to rain, managed only 58 runs in the five innings which led to some questions being raised about his place in the shortest format.
Rahul Dravid Won’t Judge Rishabh Pant Based On A Series
However, Rahul Dravid was very clear that Rishabh Pant is going nowhere. Under-fire Rishabh Pant’s chances in the India squad for the 2022 T20I World Cup have become the most-talked-about topic in the cricket fraternity.
A poor return with the bat in the recently-concluded home series against South Africa saw many ruling out the youngster for the big event in Australia later this year. Amidst this debate, India head coach Rahul Dravid made a huge statement on Rishabh Pant’s chances in the World Cup squad.
“Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not concerning him. Certainly, he is a very big part of our plans going ahead in the next few months,” Rahul Dravid said during the post-match press conference.
He was categorical that he won’t judge someone based on one series — whether it is batting form or captaincy.
“I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a slightly attacking brand of cricket, to take the game on a little more. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge it based on two or three games,” the head coach said.
Rishabh Pant, 24, was named captain of the Indian team for the T20I series against South Africa after regular skipper KL Rahul was injured a day prior to the series. The series ended 2-2 after the deciding match in Bengaluru was abandoned due to rain on Sunday after only 3.3 overs were made possible.
Rahul Dravid Reckons Rishabh Pant Had A Pretty Good IPL 2022
In fact, coach Rahul Dravid was impressed with Rishabh Pant’s strike rate of 158 plus during the IPL 2022 where he managed an underwhelming 340 runs for the Delhi Capitals.
“I think he had a pretty good IPL in terms of strike rate even though it might not have looked good on averages. In IPL, he looked to move up a little bit (in terms of averages), and probably three years ago he was on those numbers. We are hoping that we can get those numbers from him at the international level.”
Rishabh Pant plays a high-risk game that comes with a price and the coach is ready to pay the price by looking at the bigger picture.
“In the process (of playing an attacking game), he might go wrong in a few games but he remains an integral part of our batting line-up with the power he has and the fact that he is a left-hander is important to us in the middle overs, he played some good knocks,” he said.
About his captaincy, Rahul Dravid felt that Rishabh Pant did well considering that he led the side back in the series from 0-2 down.
“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” Dravid was clear in his thought-process.
“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” the coach was all praise for the stand-in skipper.
While the hosts India managed to square the series after losing the first two matches, Rishabh Pant had the highest score of 29. He was dismissed while trying to attack balls wide outside the off-stump and was particularly troubled by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.
Rishabh Pant has managed just 58 runs in the series against South Africa at a mediocre average of 14.5 and an equally poor strike rate of 105.45. Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the T20I series against South Africa, having registered scores of 29, 5, 6, 17, and 1*.