Before the start of the T20 assignment against South Africa, maverick Rishabh Pant said he will make the most of his unexpected chance to captain India after KL Rahul was ruled out to injury. Four games hence, the stand-in captain’s poor showing with the bat is a hot topic of debate, especially when the Indian team is trying to find the perfect eleven in the lead-up to this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. (Also Read | ‘Give Rishabh a break. Selectors need to talk with him if they want to move on’: Former Pakistan star tears into Pant)
Trying to reach for the ball that’s not in his hitting arc, the 24-year-old Pant has been caught in the deep multiple times in the series. The Proteas bowlers have plotted Pant’s dismissal by sticking to a wide line and the Indian looks to iron out chinks in the series decider in Bengaluru on June 19 (Sunday).
While the focus remains on Pant’s leadership and lean patch with the willow, former Pakistan tweaker Danish Kaneria has pointed out a wicketkeeping flaw as well. Kaneria feels Pant doesn’t crouch much behind the sticks due to his weight.
“I want to talk about Pant’s wicketkeeping. I’ve noticed one thing – he doesn’t squat lower and sit on his toes when a fast bowler is bowling. Seems like he is overweight and being bulky doesn’t give him that much time to come up quickly. It raises concern over his fitness. Is he 100 per cent fit? But when it comes to his captain, bowlers and batters including Hardik and Karthik have supported him well. Pant also has a chance to become the first captain to win a T20 series against South Africa,” said Kaneria on his YouTube channel.
Kaneria further lavished praise on Dinesh Karthik, who notched up his maiden T20I fifty to add crucial runs to India’s total at Rajkot. The in-form batter teamed up with Hardik Pandya and the pair revived the innings with a brisk partnership of 65 runs.
Karthik smashed nine fours and two sixes in his entertaining 55-run knock, while Hardik hit 46 off 31 balls.
“India were struggling big time but Hardik and Karthik helped the team get to 169. Karthik loves to sweep and use his feet. Everything was going his way. It was a ‘DK Day’. He batted with maturity. Hardik also showed responsibility. He started off cautiously but produced big hits in the end. He played a gem of an innings,” said Kaneria.
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