Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said Rishabh Pant is not under any pressure in terms of retaining his spot in the T20I squad even as he highlighted that the wicketkeeper-batter can improve when it comes to shot-selection in the shortest format of the game.
Rishabh Pant, in his first stint as India captain, helped India bounce back from 0-2 behind in a T20i series against South Africa, which ended in a 2-2 draw on Sunday. The final T20i in Bengaluru was called off after just 21 balls due to persistent rain in the Southern Indian city.
The spotlight throughout the series was on Rishabh Pant as the star batter failed to deliver with the bat, managing just 58 runs in 5 innings in the T20I series. Pant got out chasing wide deliveries on a couple of occasions as he fell prey to South Africa’s plans consistently.
With the spot for the wicketkeeping slots for the T20 World Cup heating up after the comeback of Dinesh Karthik and the consistent showing of Ishan Kishan, questions are being asked of Pant’s place in the side. The young wicketkeeper, who has become an indispensable member of the Test side, has been struggling for consistency in the shortest format of the game, averaging only 23 across 48 matches.
“I don’t think so. It’s still early days. There are plenty of T20 matches still ahead. There is a T20I series in England, there is a T20I series in West Indies. I don’t think there is going to be any pressure on him. He is not the kind of character who takes pressure, he goes out and enjoys his cricket. And that’s the mindset that has brought him success,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
“I will wait as there are still plenty of T20 matches before the World Cup. We can wait and then look at the form. We can decide anything but it’s up to the selectors to take the final call,” he added.
GAVASKAR LAUDS CAPTAIN PANT
Meanwhile, Gavaskar lauded Pant’s captaincy, saying the young skipper learned from mistakes quickly. Pant’s bowling changes were questioned in the first 2 T20is which India lost but the stand-in captain made most of the right calls as India bounced back to make it 2-2.
“Very impressive, especially with the way he picked up from the first two matches where we felt it was not the right way to go as far as bowling changes are concerned. Clearly, he has learnt from the mistakes and rectified it. He has kept his cool. It’s not easy being a wicketkeeper and a captain. It’s a very tricky position to be in. He is learning and learning fast,” he added.
Pant will not be part of India’s T20I series in Ireland as the wicketkeeper-batter will join the Test specialists who are training in London for the one-off Test against England, starting July 1.
Pant conceded that he is looking forward to contributing more to the team with the bat, especially after ordinary returns with the bat during the Test series last year in the Old Blighty.