Former India opener Gautam Gambhir urged the Indian team management to hold talks with under-fire wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after KL Rahul kept wickets for his side in all the three games against Australia recently.
In the first One-day International in Mumbai, Pant was struck on the head by a Pat Cummins bouncer and subsequently missed out of the second and third games due to concussion. Rahul, who took over the gloves from the 22-year-old, was in terrific form with the bat and behind the wickets. This has given way to talks that the classy opener will be asked to take up the role on a permanent basis in limited-overs cricket.
“I hope the Indian team’s HR department – selectors and team management – have deliberated carefully on this [Rahul being the keeper],” Gambhir was quoted as saying by Times of India.
He added: “I want the decision-makers to consider a few aspects. Have they discussed this with Rahul? Is he wholeheartedly performing the role? It’s usually impossible for a young cricketer to say “no” to anything thrown at him without risking getting dropped.”
Gambhir feels that the team management need to hold talks with Pant, whose batting form has already been under the scanner in the past few months, and explain to the latter his role in the side.
Gambhir said: “What happens to Rishabh Pant? I think his confidence is already eroding under the constant scrutiny of his technique. I’m not sure how he will perceive this move. A fair and open-hearted chat with Rishabh will ensure the team performs well both on and off the field. Organisations can ill afford to have a talented but disgruntled youngster in the room.”
Gambhir was full of praise for Rahul’s recent run of form. The Karnataka batsman’s stand-out knock during the Australia ODI series came in Rajkot, where he scored a brilliant 52-ball 80 coming in at No 5.
“He has a good attitude, top-class fitness level, an array of strokes and leadership qualities,” Gambhir said on Rahul. “On a corporate scale, Rahul is an invaluable middle-management asset who can be groomed for bigger roles.”