Last Update on: March 3rd, 2020 at 10:40 am
India skipper Virat Kohli has explained the rationale behind the team’s decision to play Rishabh Pant ahead of Wriddhiman Saha in the two Tests against New Zealand. India sprung a big surprise ahead of the series by dropping Saha from the playing eleven and recalled Pant in the playing eleven.
At the start of the home season last year, India dropped Pant in order to make room for Saha. The senior wicketkeeper impressed straightaway in the challenging conditions and was also hailed by Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri as the best in the world.
On the other hand, Pant lost his place in the ODI and T20I playing eleven too. He suffered a concussion while batting in the Mumbai ODI against Australia last month and the team had to ask KL Rahul to keep the wickets. Rahul made the most of the opportunity and is now being preferred as the keeper-batsman ahead of Pant in white-ball formats.
However, the Indian team-management decided to change the wicketkeeper for the challenging series and preferred Pant. Well, the move did not pay off as Pant managed to score just 60 runs in two Tests and India ended up suffering a whitewash.
Speaking after the second Test, Virat Kohli tried to explain why the 22-year-old was given a chance at the expense of veteran wicketkeeper Saha in the New Zealand series.
“We have given him (Pant) a lot of chances in the home season as well starting from Australia. Then he was not playing for a bit. In turn he really worked hard on himself,” Virat Kohli said.
“You need to figure out when is the right time to give someone else a chance. If you push people too early, they can lose confidence,” he added.
The Indian skipper also opined that the culture of the Indian team doesn’t encourage players to take their place for granted.
“I don’t see anyone taking his place for granted in this team. That’s the culture we have set. People are told to take responsibilities and work hard. Whether it happens or not is a different thing. Then you can have a conversation with the players. But no one has come here thinking I am going to play every game or I am indispensable,” said Virat Kohli.