The legendary Krishnamachari Srikkanth has lashed out at India wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant for wasting his opportunities and urged the national selectors to give him a break from the side. Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s comments have come at a time when Rishabh Pant has been going through a lean patch with the bat in white-ball cricket. In the T20I and ODI series against New Zealand that concluded on Wednesday, the Uttarakhand-born cricket star failed to get going, ending the tour with only 42 runs in four innings across the two formats.
In the final ODI at Christchurch, Rishabh Pant was dismissed for 10 off 16 balls after scoring 6, 11, and 15 in his three previous knocks.
“Maybe you can give him (Pant) a break and tell him ‘just wait a bit, come and play in India’, they haven’t handled him well. Are you going to wait for a couple of matches before giving him a break or remove him after one or two games?” Krishnamachari Srikkanth said on his YouTube channel.
“Yes, Rishabh Pant is not utilising the chances he’s getting. I am very disappointed – ennada Pant-u (what is this Pant)?,” he added.
“You are messing up these chances. If you smash into such matches, it’ll be good right? The World Cup is coming up. Already a lot of people are saying that Pant isn’t scoring so it’ll add fuel to the fire,” Krishnamachari Srikkanth stated.
“He’s going to put pressure on himself. He needs to reinvent himself. He has to do something right – stand and play for a while and then go for it… He’s throwing his wicket away all the time,” Krishnamachari Srikkanth pointed out.
Identical views were shared by former India opener Aakash Chopra who said that while there was little doubt about Rishabh Pant’s talent, he was yet to fulfill his potential.
He further stated that the left-hander was yet to shine in limited-overs cricket and soon the Indian team management will have to take a call regarding his future in national ODI and T20I sides.
“As of now everyone believes that he (Pant) is a special player, extremely talented, is an X-factor kind of cricketer, but he hasn’t lived up to the reputation in white-ball cricket thus far,” Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“In Tests, today also Rishabh Pant is not only India’s but the world’s best wicketkeeper-batter. Not many top-order batters have played more dynamic and impactful knocks than him, forget about a keeper. But the truth is that he has not done that good a job in ODIs and T20s considering the opportunities he has got,” said the former India opener.
“You have made him the vice-captain currently. Now that you have done that, you will give him two more opportunities in the team. You will ask him to play but what after that? That is a big question,” Aakash Chopra added.
“God forbid, if this series is also not good, Rishabh Pant is still part of the team for the next series, but after that the selectors will have to start thinking until when they can stick with him or if they should start moving in a different direction,” he concluded.
Even Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma was critical of Rishabh Pant’s continuing failures.
“Rishabh Pant’s on-field performances have not been satisfactory at all. It is very unfortunate, as he has been given a long rope by the team management. We all know how Virat Kohli showed great faith in Pant during his captaincy. And even after that, he kept on getting many chances. While he has done quite well in red-ball cricket, he has failed to deliver in white-ball cricket,” Rajkumar Sharma said during a discussion on India News.
“There is no harm in going back and playing domestic cricket when you are not in form. It is always better to work on your basics if you can see that you are struggling in terms of stroke-making. He should play domestic cricket and then make a comeback to the national side,” Rajkumar Sharma summed up.
Rishabh Pant, however, defended his numbers in limited-overs cricket.
“I would like to open the batting in T20Is, and in ODIs, I would like to bat at No.4 or 5. In Tests, I am batting at No.5 only. Obviously, the game plan changes when you are batting at different positions, but at the same time, the coach and captain think about what is best for the team and where the player can contribute the most. Wherever I get the opportunity, I will try to do my best,” he said in an interview with Harsha Bhogle on Prime Video.
“In ODIs, you do not need to premeditate much, but you have to do that in T20s,” the 25-year-old added.