If there is one Indian player who has failed to live up to the expectations in international cricket as of now and has not made it big in the limited opportunities he has been given, it is the young Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.
Pant was promoted up the order in India’s shaky run chase against New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup semifinal. He did manage to share a steady partnership but just when it looked like he could perhaps be India’s saviour on a rare day when India’s top order had failed, he got out playing an attacking shot. That, in essence, has been the story of Pant in international cricket- promising in patches but not good enough to be a match-winner at the highest level.
After the World Cup, MS Dhoni decided not to play for some time and thus Pant was preferred over the other keeping options. On some days, he would make one go wow but on other days and the number of such days were in majority, one would wonder why is he getting a chance at the international level.
However, after Pant was forced to leave the ground due to concussion and KL Rahul was given the responsibility to don the gloves, Rahul has been India’s go-to keeper. Former India pacer Ashish Nehra believes that the Indian team needs to back Pant more as he was the one who was looked upon as the successor to MS Dhoni especially in limited-overs cricket.
“There are a lot of talented players but they should be backed for a longer duration. Today also when we talk about the number 5 and 6 slots in Indian ODI side, then we are not sure about it. KL Rahul is playing on the 5th position and Pant, the person you were preparing to succeed MS Dhoni, is serving water.
“I know he has missed his chances and there is no doubt about it but then you have kept him in the team because you saw the potential in him at 22-23 years,” Nehra said during a conversation with former India batsman turned cricket commentator Aakash Chopra on his show Aakashvani.
The 22-year-old southpaw has represented India in 13 Tests, 16 ODIs and 28 T20Is.