‘He was quite low’: Mohammad Kaif reveals how Rishabh Pant reacted after not being named in World Cup 2019 squad
Speaking to former India batsman Aakash Chopra, Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif revealed that Pant was quite low after he saw that he was not picked for the World Cup last year.Updated: Jul 15, 2020 17:13 IST
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was initially not named in India’s World Cup squad last year. The explosive left-hander had a memorable tour in Australia in 2018/19, after which he played some sensational innings in the IPL last year, which included an unbeaten 78 in 27 balls against Mumbai Indians. But the selection team decided to go ahead with Vijay Shankar as the pick to bat at the no. 4 position, and Pant was not named in the squad.
Speaking to former India batsman Aakash Chopra on his Youtube chat show ‘Aakash Vani’, Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif revealed that Pant was quite low after he saw that he was not picked for the World Cup. “His name was not there, and he felt quite low. He is quite an emotional person. He started feeling bad immediately afterwards that he was not selected,” Kaif said.
“We picked up on those things. So, we spoke to him a lot. We told him - ‘you are quite young, at the age of 20-21, a player just starts his career. You have already made a name for yourself. You have already won the matches for your team.’
“None of us ever had any doubts that he will not be a big player, or he will not perform. We have always maintained that ‘you are a good player, you will get your chance. Just keep doing what you are doing, keep winning matches like you have been doing every year’. We spoke to him on his mental thoughts,” Kaif said.
“But he is a class player, there is no doubt on this. You don’t get such players. If he is used correctly, then he can be an asset. He is quite young as well, when he plays for two-three years more, he will become an even better player,” the former India batsman further added.
Pant, though, was later called into the team for the World Cup, with Shankar and Shikhar Dhawan both getting ruled out of the tournament due to injuries. But he could not perform to the best of his abilities on the big stage. India eventually lost to New Zealand in the semifinal and were eliminated from the tournament.