Rishabh Pant’s captaincy in the recently-concluded five-match series against South Africa at home saw two different Indian teams – one that went down 0-2 in the first two games and the other that scripted a sensational comeback to force a decider, which ultimately was abandoned due to rain. And in between, Pant faced immense criticism for his leadership skill. But at the end of the series, which kicked off the second half of India’s preparation for T20 World Cup, India head coach Rahul Dravid passed his verdict on Pant’s captaincy.
The youngster was not the first-choice leader for the series for which Rohit Sharma was rested. But with KL Rahul injured, Pant, who was previously named his deputy, was asked to take over the responsibility.
India entered the contest as favourites, but ended losing the first two games and Pant was criticised for his poor rotation of bowlers in both the games and sending Axar Patel to bat ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the second tie. However, India did make a comeback in the next two matches, in top-class fashion, to level the series.
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Although the series ended in a draw after the decider was washed out due to rain in Bengaluru, Pant had managed to gain a captaincy experience and Dravid rate his performance as a leader.
“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” Dravid said in the post-match conference on Sunday.
“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” he added.
Pant has been rested for the T20I series against Ireland, which will be played later this month, and will next feature in the rescheduled fifth Test against England next month.