Former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani has said that though Rishabh Pant is a brilliantly talented batsman when it comes to wicketkeeping, the Delhi-lad is like a baby in a cradle and has a lot to learn. These words came after Rishabh Pant’s shortcomings with the gloves on the recent tour of Australia and in the recent Test against England.
The 23-year-old Pant has been on fire with the bat in recent times. He put Australian bowlers under tremendous pressure during the Sydney Test as he slammed a quick-fire 97 as India chased 407 to win. Though the Test ended in a hard-fought draw by India, Rishabh Pant had done well to instill confidence in the team management.
Then came the match-winning 89* in Brisbane, as India breached the Gabba fortress to beat the Australians at the venue for the first time in 33 years and pocketed the series 2-1 for the second consecutive time. He continued the destruction against England as well, ash he smashed 91 in 85 balls, hitting Jack Leach to all parts of the Chepauk in Chennai.
However with the gloves, he has not improved much, especially keeping to the spinner and his shortcomings were on display, as he faltered while keeping to Ravichandran Ashwin and Shahbaz Nadeem as the ball turned sharply.
Rishabh Pant is a gifted bundle of talent with the bat but has to learn a lot in keeping wickets: Syed Kirmani
Syed Kirmani is widely considered to be the best wicketkeeper India has ever produced and he was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team as well. He was brilliant behind the stumps as kept to the four best spinners of his era in Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.
“Rishabh Pant is a gifted bundle of talent, a gifted natural stroke player. But he is in the cradle of wicketkeeping, he has to learn a lot. He has to learn when to strike also, which he did in Australia. He (Pant) has to have a basic correct technique in wicket-keeping, which is not there. The ability of a keeper is judged only when he stands up to the stumps,” said Syed Kirmani to reporters when asked about Rishabh Pant’s wicketkeeping.
“He can keep to the fastest bowler in the world because you have enough time, distance is enough, a time where you can see the swing, bounce of the ball, and accordingly you can move. You can anticipate and collect,” said Kirmani who has played 88 Tests and 49 ODIs between 1976 and 1986.
Rishabh Pant needs to focus on not throwing away his wicket: Syed Kirmani
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Not only wicketkeeping, but Kirmani was also critical of Rishabh Pant getting out on 91 in Chennai and said that the Delhi player needs to adapt his game as per the situation and needs of the team. He felt that Pant threw his wicket in the first innings of the Chennai Test, which India lost by 227 runs.
“Very composed innings he (Pant) played and he won the match for the country for the first time (in Brisbane). There were many occasions where he could have won the game for India but threw away his wicket. Here also, he threw his wicket away. When any batsman reaches 80, his focus should be getting to hundred and for that, you can’t take the risk. You can’t say I am a natural hooker or natural stroke player, you have to play to the situation and circumstances you are in,” added Kirmani.