India batting coach Vikram Rathour on Saturday tipped under-fire wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant to be a “massive player” in the future once he gets his rhythm going.
The former India opener attributed the Delhi keeper-batsman’s immense ability as the reason behind him getting chances despite going through a lean run of form across formats.
“The reason why we keep discussing him is that he has got an immense ability,” Rathour said. “Everybody believes he can be an X-factor. All of us believe he is a good player who can come good. He is working hard on his game and fitness.”
He added, “Because he has done well in the past in this format [he will get chances]. Once he starts getting runs, he can be a massive player for the Indian team; he can be a match-winner.”
When asked if it was time to give him a break, Rathour disagreed. “I don’t think the time has arrived yet. Again, he is working on certain things. He is looking good in the nets. He has been decent in the T20s. He was asked to do a certain job in the last T20 which he did. That’s what the team looks for.”
Rathour revealed that the management had worked on KL Rahul’s technique after the Karnataka opener hit a rough patch. Rahul had a fine run in the recent T20I series against West Indies.
“He went through a lean patch which every cricketer goes through. A couple of technical changes and change in mindset and the result shows. He has always been a good player. There was absolutely no doubt he will do well,” Rathour said.
As for using Rahul as a wicketkeeping option, he said, “That is something the team management will have to see, of course that is an option.”
Mayank Agarwal was recently drafted into the ODI team in place of injured Shikhar Dhawan. Rathour said Agarwal has a good record in the 50-overs format in List A cricket.
Rathour said: “Mayank Agarwal, again, has done so well in domestic cricket for many years, got into the Test team and did really well. One-day cricket at A level, I think, he is averaging more than 50, he has got a good Vijay Hazare campaign this year as well.
“Looking at the overall picture, we are all happy to see him in the squad in this format as well. Let’s see if he gets an opportunity and wherever he gets an opportunity, we are hoping he does well.”
He played down concerns about the middle-order not getting enough opportunity owing to the top-order’s exploits. “That’s a difficult problem to address when the top order is doing but I don’t think we can do anything as a team to address it.”
While stating that India were the No 1 team while chasing, Rathour said setting big targets batting first was an area that was still a work in progress.
“We are the No 1 team in the world while chasing targets, so that is one box we needed to tick off. While batting first, you need a different kind of fearlessness, when you are chasing targets you know what to chase so we plan our game plans better.
“Batting first, that is one area we need to work on. The way we batted in the last game, it was a big tick in the box so looking forward to maintaining that and whenever an opportunity comes, we will be looking to bat first and post good scores.”