Indian coach Ravi Shastri said Rishabh Pant has been asked to work on finishing games as he spends time away from the team’s ODI squads in Australia and England.
Young wicket-keeper batsman Pant impressed by scoring 350 runs at an average of 58.33 to emerge as the second leading run-scorer for India during the four-match Test series against Australia. India won the contest 2-1 to clinch their maiden Test series win on Australian soil.
However, the 21-year-old Pant, who scored an unbeaten 159 in Sydney, was not included in the squad for the Australia and New Zealand ODIs.
Shastri said Pant has been given a specific job of learning to finish games, which will be important for India during the World Cup.
“We have asked him to go back because he has been playing non-stop cricket. I think he needs a break for a couple of weeks and then join the India A team,” the head coach told India Today in an interview.
“He has been asked to do a specific job, to get into the habit of finishing off matches and he will be right there in the mix,” he added.
Earlier, MSK Prasad, chief national selector, also said Pant was still part of India’s World Cup plans and has been excluded from the ODI squads to be fresher and recover from niggles.
Also read: Full text of Ravi Shastri’s press conference after India won the series.
Much like he did during the press conference after the series win was sealed in Sydney, Kohli took a chance to insist that his team has done well in the overseas leg, defending some of the experimentation with team selections.
“There has been no Indian team that has won in three countries in a year. We won a Test match in South Africa, won a Test match in England and won a Test match in Australia. You have to take your chances to realise what is the best combination,” he said.
“If you are scared of experimenting then you’ll never know what is the right combination. You might make mistakes and why do you make mistakes... so that you learn from those mistakes. But you’ll be dumb if you keep making those mistakes, so get smart. Learn from your mistakes,” Shastri added.
Shastri, not for the first time, slammed the critics of the Indian team management for “jabbering away”.
“Who cares what people say? Look at the scoreboard, look at the results and rests is history, you can keep jabbering away.” he said.
“I always believed the people who jabber away are in the minority. You don’t know the millions of fans that this Indian team has, you outnumber the jabbering crowd.”
Virat Kohli and Co. will now take on Australia in the three-match one-day series starting in Sydney on Saturday. Shastri said his captain was setting the example for his young side.
“As a player in the team, you want to emulate him, you want to get behind him. It makes the team more confident, the youngsters more confident. Players who come into the team and pick it up straight away. It makes a world of difference. That passion and the drive give confidence to the bowlers. It serves more than one role.
“When you see him on the field with that kind of passion, where he is so expressive.. it makes a world of difference. Every time he goes out to bat, the whole Australian team wants him to get out. But to take that kind of pressure and lead from the from... it takes some serious marbles,” Shastri said.