Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has opined on Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in the second ODI against England in Pune. Shreyas Iyer’s shoulder injury suffered in the first ODI left India with options like Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, and Suryakumar Yadav; however, India opted for Rishabh Pant. Sanjay Manjrekar admits that the above-mentioned candidates have made compelling cases; however, he believes India has done no wrong in selecting Pant.
Rishabh Pant has taken massive strides in the last few months in international cricket, especially in the red-ball format, batting outstandingly. The keeper-batsman’s glovework has also improved massively. Pant, who played in all five T20Is against England, crafted some useful cameos to give the men in blue an upper hand. Pant last played an ODI in early 2020 before KL Rahul swooped in to make the keeper-batsman’s spot his own with consistent performances.
Sanjay Manjrekar opined that Rishabh Pant’s being benched weighs on the team management since his recent form has been a compelling one as the 23-year old is full of confidence. Thus, the camp might have felt that they must make full use of it now. Manjrekar stated that the hosts seized the opportunity presented due to Shreyas Iyer’s injury by getting Rishabh Pant back in the side.
“Well, the reason is obvious. It was like Rishabh Pant sitting outside was weighing on the team management. I mean, the kind of form that he has shown of late, it’s just self-confidence, you have got to make maximum use of that and when you leave him out and give KL Rahul an extra match and get him back in the scheme of things, I’m sure it was a tough call and it must have been something that would add some pressure on the team management that the first chance they have, get Rishabh Pant back in.” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPN Cricinfo.
I understand why the call had been made: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar accepts that Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav have made irrefutable cases; however, he believes that Pant’s ability to craft a devastating innings makes it challenging to leave him out. Hence, the 51-year old conceded that the selection is justified.
“Suryakumar Yadav has a strong claim, Shubman Gill too and Ishan Kishan all these guys. But Rishabh Pant – the kind of ability he has and the devastation he can create, it’s hard to leave him out, I’m perfectly alright with the call and I understand why the call had been made. Having said that, he has got to keep wickets so that should be the question,” he added.