India’s young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was on the receiving end of trolls and abuses for his mediocre form of late. The expectations are not always high every time Pant comes out to play for India because he is yet to carve out a reputation for himself as a viable keeper-batsman. However, he is on the learning curve and many experts believe that Pant has all the ingredients to be the ideal match-winner for India. This is the main reason why the Indian team management has continued to back him.
The 21-year-old has silenced the critics by scoring his maiden half-century in ODIs, which came against West Indies in the first ODI at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. He was the pick of the batsmen in the line-up as he ended up scoring a productive 71 off 69 which included 7 fours and a six. But his terrible form behind the wickets once again is haunting him like hell. He came under fire for being sloppy behind the wickets as he dropped four costly catches in the third ODI against West Indies at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack.
Meanwhile, India’s chairman of selectors MSK Prasad reckons Pant’s poor form with the willow could have had a severe effect on his wicketkeeping traits. Rishabh Pant was sidelined from India’s three-match Test series against South Africa at home last month as he was overlooked by the selectors. He was replaced by Wriddhiman Saha and the latter grabbed the opportunity with both hands by living up to the expectations.
“If you don’t keep well, it affects your batting. And if you don’t get runs, it affects your keeping. Whenever you are under pressure, you stiffen up. Your arms, shoulders, biceps, forearms – everything stiffens up. That’s when the ball starts popping out because of hard hands. When you are in a relaxed state of mind, the way you receive that ball is different to the way you collect when you are under pressure,” Chief selector of the BCCI MSK Prasad told Hindustan Times.
I am sure Rishabh Pant will come back strong: MSK Prasad
Despite the fact that Pant has failed to press the case in Test cricket, MSK Prasad still believes that Pant will come back stronger than ever before. “See, he is young and is still a work-in-progress. But there is a lot of time ahead for him. Since he got in the Indian side at a young age, he hasn’t played much domestic cricket. That is also one of the reasons. I am sure he will come back strong. It’s also good that this has happened early in his career,” MSK Prasad added.
Quite interestingly, Rishabh Pant has scored Test centuries in Australia and England and Prasad chipped in with some words of wisdom for the young prospect. According to Prasad, Pant should give himself more time in the middle in a bid to go about his business.
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