Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant ©Reuters/Lee Smith

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has backed the out-of-form wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant on Sunday, saying the team needs to support and motivate the young talent. However, Pant has been facing a lot of criticism for his rough patch. Although Gambhir said that he has always backed Sanju Samson before Pant, he opposed the team management’s words against the youngster.

“Personally, I have always backed Sanju Samson ahead of Rishabh for wicketkeeper-batsman’s role but it is disappointing to see the team-management using words like “from fearless to careless”, “wrap on Rishbah’s knuckles” and “need for a backup of Rishabh”. This is no way to handle a young human resource. Everyone wants him to play “sensible” cricket,” Gautam Gambhir wrote in his column for Times of India.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir

Earlier, Ravi Shastri also criticised Rishabh Pant, saying that he will be ‘rapped in the knuckles’ soon. He was mostly referring to the youngster’s rash shots against West Indies in the recently-concluded series. The head coach further said that Pant needs to play “sensible cricket” because his reckless batting let the team down.

On the other hand, MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors has also said that they are going to keep an eye on the other wicketkeeper batsmen, including Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, K.S. Bharath etc as backup wicket-keepers to take the pressure off Rishabh Pant.

However, Gambhir further added that the youngster needs some support from the team management as well.

“I don’t know what that means. What I do know is that the boy is now playing for survival rather than scoring runs. From the outside it seems that his mindset is all over the place. Someone needs to put an arm around his shoulder and tell him that he is wanted in the team,” Gambhir added.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant

India are currently playing the three-match T20I series against South Africa. They have taken a 1-0 lead with the opening match getting washed out in Dharamsala. Gambhir feels India will win the series as well.

“I expect India to boss around in the final T20 as well. I hope there is a balance of support in the pitch in Bengaluru. Too much tilt in favour of batsmen is never a good spectacle,” Gambhir further said.