Rishabh Pant has been the cynosure of India’s campaign in the T20I series against South Africa. While he has successfully managed to guide India to a series-levelling win in Rajkot on Friday after the hosts went 0-2 down early in the five-match series, Pant’s captaincy has faced immense criticism and so has his batting. And India legend Zaheer Khan, while pointing out a similarity between the two, offered some key advice to Pant ahead of the series decider in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Pant wasn’t supposed to lead the Indian team in the series. KL Rahul was picked as the captain in Rohit Sharma’s stead, who has been rested. But an injury concern ruled him out of the series and the selectors picked Pant as the captain.
However, in India’s two losses at the start of the series, Pant was criticised for his poor bowling tactics which included not rotating the bowlers properly, and also promoting Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the batting line-up.
ALSO READ: Babar Azam, Virat Kohli to play in same team? ACC plan to revive Afro-Asia Cup for first time since 2007
Speaking to Cricbuzz ahead of the final game at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Zaheer opined that Pant needs to find balance in his captaincy.
“When he scores runs, people talk about him. When he doesn’t, people still talk about him. There’s a similar style of pattern in his captaincy. We have to give him time. He likes to think out of the box. He tries to follow his instincts far too much,” the veteran Indian said on Cricbuzz.
“He likes to take a lot of chances. He has to find that balance when he makes extreme decisions. It’s just like his batting,” he further added.
Not just his leadership skill, Pant’s batting has also been a huge concern as he managed just 55 runs in four innings at a strike rate of only 105. More than the runs, what has left most frustrated has been his pattern of dismissal – the well wide outside the off stump – in the series.
All eyes will once again be on Pant in the last game of the series given that Pant has been rested for the Ireland fixture. Besides, the competition for the wicketkeeper’s role in India’s T20 World Cup squad has gotten tougher amid Dinesh Karthik’s sparkling form and Ishan Kishan’s impressive returns as an opener. The Ireland tour will also see the return of Sanju Samson in the squad.