NEW DELHI: Rishabh Pant must learn the virtue of patience to transform himself from an exciting match-winner to a crucial ‘finisher’ for India, according to former captain Krishnammachari Srikkanth.
Famed for his swashbuckling batting, Pant is expected to be the second wicketkeeper in India’s World Cup squad, behind ex-national captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after impressing across all three formats.
Pant smashed a blistering 78 not out of 27 balls in an Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians last month but the former aggressive opener advised the Delhi Capitals player to shun risks early in his knock.
“I firmly believe that he is one cricketer in India who could win his side - be it Delhi Capitals or Indian teams - games from hopeless situations,” Srikkanth wrote in a column in Friday’s Times of India newspaper. “This kid has it in him but from my observation I feel that he doesn’t give himself enough time to showcase his talent in the middle.
“He goes too hard right at the start. He needs to play in the ‘V’ the first few balls, irrespective of the format, maybe push the ball towards long-on or long-off frequently and get his eyes in.
“He has great ability and a range of shots to make it up in the end,” added Srikkanth, a member of India’s triumphant 1983 World Cup team. Delhi head coach Ricky Ponting also believes Pant needed to be patient to be able to inflict maximum damage on rivals in the final overs.
“With Rishabh in white-ball cricket, the issue is that he’s such a competitor that sometimes that gets the better of him,” the former Australia captain said. “He wants to get things done quickly in the white-ball game. In the Tests he doesn’t so much because there’s not as much scoring pressure in Tests.”
Ponting, however, would not ask the 21-year-old to change the way he bats.
“I’m not going to curb the way he plays, I’m not gonna tell him to slow down because if he plays his best he will win games for us,” Ponting said. “I want him to go out with pure freedom and with no other thought other than hitting the ball for a six. We saw in Mumbai, when it comes off, we’re going to win.”
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2019