Rishabh Pant had scored 32 runs in 3 T20Is vs New Zealand.© AFP
India may have whitewashed New Zealand in the three-match T20I series at home but there were a few areas that still need strengthening. Middle-order batting wasn’t the best for Team India, and the team management would want to iron out these flaws before the next T20 World Cup. The series was dominated by the Indian openers as they had 50-plus stands in all three games. Former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori spoke about one aspect which he said needs looking into — Rishabh Pant’s form.
According to Vettori, Pant’s form is a massive cause for concern. The former New Zealand spinner also said that Pant is unclear about his approach to the game and his role in the team, particularly in the recently-concluded series against the Kiwis.
“He hasn’t got his tempo right in T20 cricket. He hasn’t quite understood his role, particularly in this series. Sometimes he is overly cautious and then he is reckless. It doesn’t feel like there’s a flow to his game. When you see a great T20 batsman batting well, it is all about flow, momentum and you feel that rhythm too. He hasn’t really got that yet,” said Daniel Vettori while speaking to ESPNCricinfo.
Pant was in poor form with the bat and scored just 32 runs in the three T20Is against New Zealand. He has been rested for the upcoming Test series but Team India would hope for an improved batting show from their star wicketkeeper in South Africa.
He had fared a little better at the T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman. The wicketkeeper-batter scored 78 runs in three innings. His top score was 39 against Pakistan, followed by 12 vs New Zealand and 27 not out against Afghanistan.
Pant didn’t get an opportunity to bat in the games against Scotland and Namibia.
Vettori said that India have a few options to replace Pant in T20Is, if the wicketkeeper-batter doesn’t improve in the coming matches.
“I will be surprised if they (team management) don’t talk long and hard about what they expect from him (Pant). I think the onus is on him (Pant) to find the right tempo and the reality is if he doesn’t, they can look elsewhere. They look to Ishan Kishan and also know KL (Rahul) can keep as well in T20Is. I think they will give Pant the opportunity to find his rhythm, knowing that they can change pretty quick as well,” concluded Vettori.
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