Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has backed Rishabh Pant to find back his mojo after a disappointing series against South Africa which ended 2-2 as the fifth T20I in Bangalore was washed out.
Pant, leading India for the first time in his career, managed only 58 runs at a strike rate of 105; his best knock came in the first match – 29 off 16 balls – but after that he played some poor knocks: 5 off 7, 6 off 8 and 17 off 23 as the Protea bowlers got him out while slashing outside off-stump, a weakness which teams are going to explore further in the future.
On the other hand, the likes of Ishan Kishan – top-scorer in the series with 206 runs at strike rate of 150 – and Dinesh Karthik – Man of the Match in must-win Rajkot game and IPL 2022’s best finisher – grabbed their chances spectacularly in this series.
However, Sunil Gavaskar said that Pant place isn’t under threat at the moment as there are plenty of T20Is to be played before the T20 World Cup.
When asked if Rishabh Pant should be worried about his place in India’s eleven, Sunil Gavaskar replied, “I don’t think so.“
He added: “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.
“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.”
Pant impressed Gavaskar with his captaincy comeback
The series didn’t start well for Pant the captain as India failed to defend 211 and 149, with the first-timer skipper copping plenty of criticism for his bowling changes.
Gavaskar observed that Pant was far better as a captain in the two T20Is which India won where South Africa were bowled out 131 and 87.
“Very impressive [captaincy], 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 learned 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,” the 72-year-old commentator concluded.