After being critisiced for his shot selection prior to the first T20 against South Africa, Rishabh Pant might have been raring to get out there and put up a good performance. But rain did not allow him to do so. Pant, who made his way into the Indian team with a tag of being “fearless”, is at the risk of being called “careless”, if he isn’t being called already. His dismissals in the recently concluded West Indies tour did not help his cause.
Ahead of the second T20, for India, Pant’s performance is not only about the South Africa series or the series after that, but also about next year. Every move India make will be with an eye on the 2020 T20 World Cup. With Dhoni. though not yet retired, not in the mix, the onus is on Pant to perform. And keeping that in mind, ahead of the second T20, India’s new batting coach, Vikram Rathour wanted him to “sort his game a little more.”
“At this level it is more about the mindset,” Rathour said. “Getting your game plans right. Lots and lots of discussions. Why they are making certain decisions at whichever time they do that. Someone like Rishabh, I think he is a phenomenal player. There is no doubt about that.”
“Of course he needs to sort out his game plans a little more. Bring a little bit of discipline to his game. All the young players need to realise that there is a fine line between fearless cricket and careless cricket. What the team management is asking of them is fearless cricket. Having clear game plans and playing with intent and backing your strengths. At the same time, they cannot be careless. I am sure they are starting to understand that.”
With the team management clearly backing him, Pant would want to bring his ‘A’ game against South Africa, and be the match-winner that India expect him to be.
When Pant comes out to bat (hoping rain does not spoil the party once again) in the second T20 between India and South Africa begins on Wednesday, the coach, captain, the team management, the fans- everybody would have their eyes set on one thing.
Will Rishabh Pant play “fearless” or “careless”?