A specialist will be employed to help embattled India cricketer Rishabh Pant to improve his wicket-keeping skills, chief selector MSK Prasad said in New Delhi on Monday. Not long ago, Pant had worked under former India keeper Kiran More, seeking to improve his glove-work.
The 22-year-old was slammed by fans for spilling a few chances in the third and final One-day International against the West Indies in Cuttack on Sunday.
“Pant needs to improve his keeping skills. We will have him work under a specialist wicket-keeping coach,” Prasad told reporters after the team selection for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and Australia. While he has received unflinching backing from the team management, it has come to the conclusion that Pant needs special attention.
Pant has also been criticised for his failure to perform consistently at the top level. Home crowds chanted MS Dhoni’s name when Pant had an ordinary outing behind the wickets in the recently-concluded series against Bangladesh and the West Indies.
Pant, though, also found support from some quarters, including the legendary Brian Lara. “As a 21 (22) year-old, Rishabh Pant has a lot of unnecessary pressure. When I was 21, I did not have that much pressure. I was sitting down on the bench… you know… cleaning Sir Vivian Richards’s boots or doing something… getting ready to play international cricket,” Lara had said.
“I think the burden is unnecessary. He should be allowed to play and allowed to express himself. Don’t feel it’s a do-or-die situation.”
Notably, captain Virat Kohli had said it was disrespectful to see the crowd chanting Dhoni’s name instead of cheering for Pant. Even the BCCI President and former skipper Sourav Ganguly firmly backed Pant, saying the wicketkeeper-batsman is a “superb player” who would mature slowly.
More had said Pant should not be compared with Dhoni or Wriddhiman Saha.
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