New Delhi: Young Rishabh Pant has been receiving a lot of flak and advice from the cricket establishment and critics. For all his explosive batting, his temperament has come under the radar, endangering his place in the Indian team with talented players like Wriddhiman Saha and Shreyas Iyer in the flanks.
But former batsman Yuvraj Singh, whose six 6s recently completed 12 years, believes that “suppressing” a batsman like Pant will not help him.
“Pant is already receiving a lot of criticism and I don’t want to add anything to it. If you are going to suppress him, you will not get the best out of him,” Yuvraj said on the sidelines of ‘The Sports Movement’ summit of the India On Track organisation.
Yuvraj emphasised the need to understand a batsman’s psychology before “shouting” and criticising in the media and added that people in-charge needs to communicate to him in order to get the best out of him.
“How you get the best out of him is completely based on his (Rishabh Pant) character. You have to understand his character. You have to understand his psychology and you will have to work according to that,” the former cricketer said. “Yes, he has been given a lot of chances but how do you get the best out of the guy? The people monitoring him, the coach (Ravi Shastri) and the captain (Virat Kohli) need to talk and get the best out of him,” he said.
The 21-year-old has scored two centuries in Test cricket but has been struggling in the shorter format since 50-overs World Cup due to poor shot selection.
Newly-appointed batting coach, Vikram Rathore had recently made a statement about “the fine line between fearless and careless cricket,” clearly directing the suggestion at Pant.
While Shastri said that Pant let the team down with poor dismissals during the West Indies tour, Virat Kohli was of the view that the Delhi batsman should play according to situation.
“Unfortunately for me there was no one to tell what I need to do. At the moment young guys are getting a lot of money through IPL. Somebody needs to tell them how to go about their business, about their life and priority. Rishabh has got two test hundreds which shows he has got a lot of potential,” Yuvraj said.
Comparisons with legendary M.S. Dhoni may have put extra pressure on Pant and when asked about it, he said, “It is unfair to compare him with MS (M.S. Dhoni). It took him a lot of years to become MS Dhoni. You have to be patient with Pant. If you feel he is the most talented wicket-keeper batsman we have, stick with him, give him more chances and ask him to play domestic cricket. He can then come back to play for India again.”
The topic during the conference then digressed towards Dhoni’s sabbatical and whether it’s time for him to pass the mantle. Yuvraj feels it’s unfair to someone who has given so much to Indian cricket.
“Dhoni is the most successful captain we have. We have to give him some time and he needs to decide when he wants to go rather than people asking him to retire. If he still wants to play, we should respect that,” Yuvraj said.