India legend Sunil Gavaskar has aked the Indian team management to give Rishabh Pant some breathing space, by sending him to bat at number five instead of number four. Since the first time Rishabh batted at number 4 in World Cup, he has continued to bat at that position.
In ODIs aganst West Indies as well, he was sent at number four which came as a surprise. Prior to the start of India-South Arica, there has been an immediate spotlight on Rishabh and former cricketers have asked for the team management to be easy on Rishabh.
“Giving him a bit of breathing space by slotting him at No. 5 could also help, for at that number he will invariably come in to bat where his aggressive batting is needed from the start rather than when he has to build his and the team’s innings,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
Gautam Gambhir had also defended Rishabh as he was disappointed by the team management’s treatment of the youngster.
The Ravi Shastri’s criticism of Rishabh did come as a surprise to me, though he raised a valid point of the youngster throwing his wicket but few of the comments that were made did not please many.
Rishabh seemed to be under pressure in the second T20I in Mohali and was dismissed cheaply on delivery that he could have played on part of the ground on leg-side.
Still, he continues to be top priority of the management in white-ball cricket as well as there is no such replacement. Although Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are waiting for their chances and one of them is highly expected to replace Risahbh for Bangladesh T20Is, where he will be given rest after the three-match South Africa Test series.
After the third T20I in Bangalore, Rishabh will join Delhi for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. After playing two games for his sate, he will don the wicketkeeping gloves for India in the three-match Test series.
Looking at the Shastri’s comments, there are all indications that Rishabh could lose his place in playing XI in Tests should he continue to play loose shots.
Inda and South Africa play three-match Test series starting October 2 in Vizag.