Team India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is a fearless bloke who believes in playing his natural game. Known for hitting rash shots that get him out at crucial times, many believe he is not the right replacement for MS Dhoni in all three formats. The latest to express his view in this regard was one of India’s top-class wicket-keepers Syed Kirmani, who was also a part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team.
“It’s unfair that Pant will be playing in all formats. When somebody is not in form, you should try out the man who has already played and performed for the country. And that person is Wriddhiman Saha. He should be given a fair chance in Test matches,” Kirmani was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
“Pant is certainly gifted, but he should be groomed nicely and properly in the domestic structure. Once he has shown his consistency and the patience required in batting, only then he should be given a chance,” he added.
The national selectors have made it clear that youngsters will be backed and given opportunities. Saha is already 34, and it’s just a matter of time before Dhoni bids adieu to international cricket.
On the other hand, Pant is only 21, and despite his hasty and irresponsible shot selection, he has proved his mettle as a game-changer at various national and international tournaments.
In the Under-19 World Cup 2016 and in last year’s IPL, he showed what he is capable of with his prolific run-scoring ability.
His Test debut against England in 2018 was forgettable. But in his third Test match, he struck a magnificent century and confirmed his place in the side for the tour of Australia.
After playing the first 3 Test matches in Australia, his highest score was 39, but he silenced his critics by notching up a mammoth century (159*) in the 4th Test.
Apart from the selectors, skipper Virat Kohli has also shown faith in him.
Earlier, former India captain Sourav Ganguly had said that “Pant is the player to watch out for” in the next one or two years.
All one can say is that the young left-hander will only get better with time.