‘He’s not a natural keeper,’: Ravi Shastri mentions area where Rishabh Pant needs to work ‘really hard’
Ravi Shastri on Rishabh Pant: India head coach Ravi Shastri hinted that the 21-year-old’s position in the Indian side depends on his primary skill – wicket-keeping.Updated: Jan 25, 2020 16:12 IST
Mentioning that Rishabh Pant is an exceptional talent, India head coach Ravi Shastri said that the young left-hander needs to work hard on his wicket-keeping skills to do justice to his potential. Shastri’s comments come at a time when Pant lost his position in the Indian side to KL Rahul, who has been given the dual role of a ‘keeper-batsman in New Zealand after a successful Australia series.
“He (Rishabh Pant) has to work really hard on his wicket-keeping. He is not a natural ‘keeper but he’s got all that talent which go to waste if he doesn’t work on his keeping. I think he has realised that and if you see him now, he is working extremely hard on his ‘keeping as well,” Ravi Shastri told The Hindu, hinting that the 21-year-old’s position in the Indian side depends on his primary skill – wicket-keeping.
Pant , who was India’s first-choice wicket-keeper even till the first week of January, lost his place in the side after a Pat Cummins bouncer hit him on the helmet in the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai. Rahul kept in that game he continued to do so despite Pant regaining full fitness by the third ODI.
Rahul’s glovework impressed the Indian team management so much that Indian captain Virat Kohli confirmed him for the New Zealand tour and Rahul proved the captain right by scoring a 27-ball 56 in the first T20I against New Zealand at Auckland. Rahul also did a satisfactory job behind the stumps.
Pant, on the other hand, has not been in the best of forms both the bat in hand and also behind the stumps. In 13 T20Is since the ODI World Cup 2019, Pant has scored only 177 runs at an average of 22.12.
Shastri, however, said he would not like Pant to change his batting style.
I would not like to change his game for anything. We tell him to try and understand his game, be selective in shot-making, see what the team demands are, assess the state of the game, figure out a way of how he can play — by still being aggressive but by taking calculated risks,” Shastri added.
Shastri also cited the example of a Test match in Sydney to explain Pant’s batting. “Like for example, in Sydney, I think we were five down at stumps (303/4) and he was yet to bat. I put my arm on his shoulder, I said think hundred today. I said because the way I saw the Aussies bowl. He was 30 batting without anything happening. (Nathan) Lyon bowls with five guys behind and all you have to do is knock him around for singles. The others just see it through initially and he was 25-30 on the board without taking anything. Then don’t give it away and be smart. If he’s got six fielders back, milk him. Go after the fast bowlers. You can score more of the fast bowlers as you’re a naturally an attacking player. He went, kept the tempo, did not take a chance against Lyon that day and ended up 159 not out. It just goes to show it’s there. He has a reputation of being a devastating player, big hitter. That is what he has to get used to. Every time he comes to bat, the crowd expects sixes off everything. This is where he has to manage his game properly,” Shastri said.