Rishab Pant is looking forward to a stint on the sidelines, away from the spotlight and maybe this is what his career needs at this point.
India is a country that possesses an abundance amount of cricketing talent but it’s not always the case that the talented cricketers achieve success at the international level. And, Rishab Pant came into the spotlight after performing exceedingly well in the biggest T20 league in the world (IPL) and every Cricket fan could sense that this kid is something special, better than most other cricketers who are in their early 20s.
All Cricket fans know that M.S.Dhoni cannot go on playing for India forever and when they saw a young bloke in his early twenties smashing the best of the bowlers to all part of the ground in the IPL last year, everybody naturally started expecting bigger things from the youngster.
He was a part of the World Cup squad in 2019, batted at number four and touted as the next best thing in Indian Cricket. He didn’t have a successful World Cup by any stretch of imagination and was subsequently dropped from the Indian team and K L Rahul became the wicket-keeper to offer more balance to the team which put Pan’s career on the crossroads.
Virat Kohli stressed on having KL Rahul as the wicket-keeper as it allows the team to accommodate another batsman or bowler, depending upon the batsman. Kohli explained his decision by saying, "Him (KL Rahul) doing really well with the gloves has opened up another scenario for us which gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batter. This is something that we are looking to continue for a while and nothing to be taken away from anyone else but it's just what brings the best balance to the side. I know there will be a lot of talks around what happens to other players and what-not. For us, the most important thing is what the team requires and the best balance that we can create as a side"
During the series against Australia, in the Rajkot ODI, Pant couldn’t perform wicket-keeping duties after being hit by a bouncer from Pat Cummins. Rahul who had already scored a 52 ball 80, was asked to do the wicket-keeping duties and his performance as a wicket-keeper seems to have impressed captain Kohli and the coaching staff. In the next match, Pant had recovered from the concussion injury but Rahul was again the preferred wicket-keeper and Pant was dropped from the playing eleven.
After India lost to New Zealand in the semi-final in the world cup where Rishab Pant got out playing a loose shot during a crunch situation. Virat Kohli said this when asked about Rishab Pan’t’s performance and this is what he had to say. "He's still young. I made many errors when I was young in my career and he will learn,"
He further added, "We are looking at Rishabh as the future, definitely. He has got a lot of skill and talent. It’s about winning and finishing games like these and gaining confidence which he wants to do as well. It’s about giving him a bit more space to ease himself into international cricket and not putting too much pressure because of the way he’s played in the IPL."
Indian head coach Ravi Shastri believes Pant has to wait to get more chances in the future. "Sometimes, domestic cricket is good. There is less pressure in domestic cricket and playing domestic cricket and rediscovering themselves," He further added, "He's lucky that he has age on his side. India is lucky that they have got multi-taskers. You have got Rahul who can keep, Sanju Samson, MS in the background. Saha in the Test match. There is talent there.”
"If he disappears for 3 months or 6 months just to work on his game, people should not think he has been treated (badly). Absolutely not. He will come back tougher and stronger if there is a need for that to happen. He doesn't need to be spoken about as much as he is spoken about now. No! He is young, give him time. In 5 years, if he doesn't set the world on fire, then talk about it,” Shastri signed off saying this.
It is rumored that the number four batting slot in the Indian team is jinxed because whoever (Amabati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik) plays there ends up being an outcast.
Let’s just wait and watch what’s the future holds for Rishab Pant.