Rishabh Pant is on top of the world right now after scoring a brilliant century against England, the wicket-keeper batsman is in the form of his life but is it necessary to call him back to the T20I squad?
Rishabh Pant’s introduction in test cricket started with a bang as he scored two hundred in his first two tours in England and Australia. After that, there were a series of disappointments when Wriddhiman Saha was preferred in home games only because of his better ability to keep to spinners followed by him being dropped from the limited-overs squad while KL Rahul was given the gloves.
He was not a part of the playing 11 for the 1st Test match in Australia but ended up playing the last 3 test matches of that series. Rishabh Pant played a match-saving counter-attacking 97 off 118 balls in Sydney followed by a series-winning 89 not out at the Gabba.
The left-hander made a comeback to form in Australia after heavy criticism by the fans for a large part of the last two years. Indian captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma along with teammate Shikhar Dhawan openly supported him during this time.
“I think it’s a collective responsibility for everyone around us as well to give that player (Rishabh Pant) some space,” Kohli said after fans chanted M.S Dhoni’s name when Pant dropped a catch against West Indies.
“If he misses a chance or something, you know, people can’t shout MS’ (MS Dhoni) name in the stadium, it’s not respectful if I have to put it that way, because no player would like that to happen. You’re playing in your own country and you should get support, rather than thinking what mistake is he going to make, no one wants to be in that position,” Kohli added.
In the first two tests against England, Rishabh Pant got another two half-centuries before scoring an outstanding century in the 4th test match and now looks to be way ahead of Wriddhiman Saha in the pecking order. Pant’s red hot form earned him a call-up back to the T20I squad. The main question that arises is that was it necessary? is he being rushed back? Is he ready to play all three formats?
Recalling Rishabh Pant to T20I squad to backfire?
KL Rahul looked more than comfortable behind the stumps and with Ishan Kishan called up it gives India another option with the gloves. Pant was selected ahead of Sanju Samson who hasn’t been performing too bad himself. Samson definitely deserved more chances and he can keep wickets as well.
The main issue with selecting Pant is that he had a below-average IPL with only one 50+ score. India does not have a better wicket-keeper batsman in red-ball cricket than Pant at the moment but the same cannot be said about Limited overs.
The decision to bring him back in the mix for the T20I despite underwhelming performances in the limited-overs is a risk that he might lose confidence and form if he has a series of bad knocks which might cost India dearly in future test matches.
Having said that if Rishabh Pant’s name was omitted from the recent T20I squad to play England the selectors would have had another set of critics. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shashtri would be hoping that the Delhi boy will only get better from here on to cement his place in all three formats for India but the contrary could easily happen.
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