Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has criticized Rishabh Pant and said that the Indian wicketkeeper batter is lagging behind his other teammates in terms of fitness standards. Pant has always been under scrutiny for his fitness which has reflected on his wicketkeeping too on several occasions. Meanwhile, the southpaw is also going through a lean patch as he had an underwhelming IPL season followed by the T20I series against South Africa. The rise of Dinesh Karthik and Ishan Kishan against the recently concluding South Africa series has put pressure on Pant for a place in the T20 World Cup squad.
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Kaneria said that Pant’s fitness is very mediocre and lagging behind others as India transformed their fitness level during the captaincy tenure of Virat Kohli.
“Rishabh Pant’s fitness is not up to the mark and is very low. I would say it’s rather mediocre. There was a massive change in terms of the team’s fitness standards when Kohli took over the captaincy. But Pant is lagging behind when compared to others,” said Kaneria on his official YouTube channel.
Kaneria also said that current India skipper Rohit Sharma is also not very fit but it’s not a big concern for him as he is a batter while Pant also has to keep wickets which needs a better fitness level.
“Although Rohit Sharma’s too isn’t very fit, he is a batter, and it is fine for him. But Pant has to improve his fitness as he is a wicketkeeper. Even at this young age, we’ve seen how he hasn’t been able to crouch properly while keeping in recent games.
“This is due to his weight issues. It has an effect on his flexibility too. He plays with an approach of hitting the bowlers right from the onset. Mental toughness and maturity will also only come with fitness,” he said.
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Talking about Pant’s chances in India’s T20 WC squad, Kaneria said he is going to face tough competition from Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson.
“When you see Dinesh Karthik, he is super fit even at this age. We’ve seen that in his batting as well as wicketkeeping. Pant may have scored 70-odd in the warmup game, but he hasn’t been consistent and his graph is going down. He will have to fight for his place in the team as there are other options like Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson,” added Kaneria.
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