KL Rahul’s show in the just-concluded three-match ODI series against Australia has impressed everybody. He has not only delivered with the bat but also delivered as a wicketkeeper. And his performance has now brought the focus back on Rishabh Pant, who missed the second and third matches after getting hit on the helmet while batting in the first game in Mumbai.
The Indian team management was still to settle the Pant puzzle as the young wicketkeeper-batsman failed to live up to the expectations regularly. There were talks over his regular choice in the Indian team and it was being questioned why the likes of Sanju Samson were not given enough opportunities. But with Rahul’s emergence as a national keeper-batsman, Pant’s future in the national side looks even more in jeopardy.
Gambhir praises KL Rahul as a ‘middle-management asset’
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir recently raised the question on Pant in his weekly column in the Times of India. The 38-year-old cricketer-turned-politician wrote, “There are few areas in business and sports which overlap. Let’s talk about KL Rahul, a fantastic human resource for Indian cricket. He has a good attitude, top-class fitness level, an array of strokes and leadership qualities. On a corporate scale, Rahul is an invaluable middle-management asset who can be groomed for bigger roles.”
Thereafter, he spoke on the Pant issue. “What happens to Rishabh Pant? I think his confidence is already eroding under the constant scrutiny of his technique. I’m not sure how he will perceive this move. A fair and open-hearted chat with Rishabh ensures the team performs well both on and off the field,” the BJP MP said, adding that it is not desirable to have a talented but disgruntled youngster in the dressing room.
Gambhir has spoken a number of times on the Pant issue earlier. While he asked Pant to be more consistent with the bat one time, he also slammed the team management over its handling of the 22-year-old.
Pant is in the Indian squad for the five-match T20I series in New Zealand starting January 24 but whether he will get a game is the question which is doing the rounds.
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