Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag has spoken about the improvements that Rishabh Pant needs to make in his game in order to be picked up in the national squad on a regular basis. He also said that this immaturity shown by Pant cost him his place in India’s ODI and T20I squad that is supposed to travel to Australia later this year.
Sehwag said that it was not “surprising that Pant was not included” in the squad. He cited the last tour of India of which Pant was a part but had to spend his time on the bench despite being fit. “KL Rahul had performed well as a wicketkeeper and he was used as the regular wicketkeeper in the limited-overs series, and Rishabh Pant was kept out,” Sehwag added.
Sehwag thinks that this was a message to the wicketkeeping batsman to “change his style of play”. Listing the issues that Pant has, Sehwag said the youngster “would keep losing his wickets” and he has not been able to finish games. “If he does not do that, he would not be given chances,” noted Sehwag.
Sehwag made it clear that the Men in Blue would rather prefer a batsman who can keep over a good wicketkeeper who fails to responsibly bat. “During our time, Rahul Dravid was used as a wicketkeeper because we did not have a good keeper till MS Dhoni arrived. So, we used Dravid as a keeper because he would be used as an extra batsman in the team.”
Despite Rishabh Pant being a good keeper, Sehwag opined that team captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri might not be pleased with his way of giving away his wickets. As a tip to the player, the former opener of Team India said Rishabh Pant “needs to finish off games in every opportunity he gets”. He also must “prove himself that he has the capability to return to the Indian team” as per Sehwag.
Although Pant missed out the T20 and ODI squad, he has gotten a place in the Test team ahead of the Australia tour.