India head coach Ravi Shastri has warned Rishabh Pant that he must improve his shot selection following some highly erratic displays from the young wicketkeeper batsman in the Caribbean.
Pant was dismissed twice for a golden duck on the tour of West Indies with the second of them coming in the third ODI at the Port of Spain. On that occasion, the left-handed batsman had charged down the track to Fabian Allen in his very first delivery before lofting the ball straight into the hands of the mid-off fielder.
Shastri has now made it clear that the 21-year-old needs to take more responsibility for his shot selection and has urged him to take the team’s greater interests in mind.
“When you see a shot like the one in Trinidad off the first ball, (its disappointing), “ Shastri told broadcaster Star Sports in a recent interview.
“He tries to repeat it a couple of times and gets out, he will be told.
“There will be a rap on the knuckles there – talent or no talent – because you are letting the team down, forget letting yourself down.”
Pant’s start to his Test career has been an immense one with the youngster becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to register tons in England as well as Australia. However, consistency has eluded him in the limited-overs formats in particular with his average in ODIs and T20s currently standing at 22.90 and 21.57.
Shastri is hesitant to change the left-hander’s attacking style with the bat but want him to show greater match awareness.
“No one will change his style but match awareness becomes crucial, shot selection becomes crucial in particular situations,” he stated.
“If he can fathom that out, he could be unstoppable. You mentioned how many games it would take, it could be one game, it could be four games. I don’t see more than that. He will learn.
“He has played enough IPL cricket. So, it’s time now for him to step on to the stage and just show the world how devastating he is.”
Shastri’s views were on Pant were echoed by India skipper Virat Kohli.
“Expectations (from Pant) are only of reading situations. You don’t expect a guy to play according to what you might be thinking,” Kohli said.
“It’s about analysing the situation and finding your own way of dealing with the situation. Someone like Rishabh might hit five boundaries in a difficult situation compared to me who likes to take ones and twos and get out of it.
“So, everyone has their own game. But reading the situation and decision-making is the expectation from all the players, including Rishabh.”
Kohli and Shastri will now hope that the youngster can show better application in the ongoing three-match T20 series between India and South Africa. The first clash between the two sides at Dharamsala on Sunday was washed out without a ball being bowled while the second T20 is slated to take place in Mohali on Wednesday.
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