Former India allrounder Reetinder Sodhi has torn into Rishabh Pant, calling him a “liability” in the national side’s T20I set-up following his twin failures in the recent New Zealand series.
“He is becoming a liability for Team India. If it’s like this, then bring in Sanju Samson. End of the day, you got to take that chance because you cannot afford to lose and exit in World Cup or ICC tournaments. When you give too many chances, problems arise. The time has come to provide opportunities to new guys,” Reetinder Sodhi told Sportskeeda.
“Only time will tell how many opportunities and how long he gets. Time is passing and he really has to tighten his shoes. Everything has a limit. You cannot depend on one player for so long. If he is not performing, you got to show him the exit door,” Reetinder Sodhi said further.
“We all know Rishabh Pant is a match-winner, but you don’t score runs. You don’t help win your team. You got the opportunity in an important event like World Cup. I accept that initially, he didn’t get the opportunity, but whenever you get a chance, your job is to perform, which has not happened. It’s time that selectors think beyond him,” Reetinder Sodhi pointed out.
Reetinder Sodhi’s scathing criticism of Rishabh Pant came after he flopped again in T20Is, this time in the final game of the three-match series against New Zealand in Napier.
Opening the batting for India, Rishabh Pant only managed to score 11 runs off 5 balls before being sent back by Tim Southee at McLean Park. This was his second consecutive failure in the series after he was dismissed for 6 from 13 deliveries in Mount Maunganui.
Overall, the left-hand batter has made 364 runs in 21 innings this year. Moreover, his runs have come at a disappointing average of 21.41 with only a single fifty to his name.
Meanwhile, Sanju Samson has accumulated 179 runs in five knocks in 2022. Unlike Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson has scored his runs at a healthy average of 44.75. He last donned an India jersey in August when the national team was on a tour of the West Indies.
Earlier, fans lashed out at India captain Hardik Pandya after he didn’t include Sanju Samson in the playing XI and instead persisted with Rishabh Pant during the just concluded three-match T20I series against New Zealand.
The Indian cricket team’s admirers were furious with Hardik Pandya’s decision to not feature Sanju Samson in the side. Some even went on to call him an “insecure captain” while others accused him of bias and picking the team based on his friendships with certain players.
Despite severe criticism, Hardik Pandya defended his decision and even went on to say that being the captain of the side, he can choose his players.
“This is my team, firstly. The coach [VVS Laxman, in this case] and I will pick the team we feel is right,” he said after the series. “And there’s a lot of time, everyone will get a chance, and when they do, they will get an extended run. But it’s difficult since this was a short series. If it had been a long series, more players would have got a chance,” Hardik Pandya said in a press conference after the third T20I between the Men in Blue and the Kiwis ended in a tie in Napier.
“If they are sitting out… Sanju Samson, for example: we wanted to play him, but for whatever reason, we couldn’t. But I can get into their shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a cricketer, it is difficult, whatever one might say. You are in the Indian team, but you are not getting a chance in the XI, so that’s difficult. At the end of the day, I can say whatever I want, but those will just be words. It will still be difficult for them to deal with. But if I can create a healthy environment, where the players can come and speak to me if they are feeling bad, or go and speak to the coach, if I remain the captain, I think it won’t be a problem. Because my nature is such that I make sure everyone is together,” Hardik Pandya explained.
Meanwhile, former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim said that Rishabh Pant has got plenty of opportunities. While the team management still believes that he’s a prodigious talent in every format of the game, he hasn’t delivered in T20Is.
“Rishabh Pant has been tried at different positions because he has failed to deliver on those particular spots. The team management still believes he has an incredible talent to perform in T20 cricket,” Saba Karim told India News.
“This situation wouldn’t have arrived if they had played him in a particular position. He has got plenty of opportunities. I think it’s time for a lot of discussions,” Saba Karim signed off.