India coach Ravi Shastri believes young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has to “work really hard” on his glovework behind the stumps.
Pant, who has been rated highly for a long time now, is going through a bit of a low phase at the moment. He was part of the India XI that took on Australia in the first One-Day International of the recently-concluded three-match series, but suffered a blow to his head in that game and was forced to sit out the next one. What made matter worse for him was the fact that he was left out of the third ODI in that series despite being declared fit to play.
The 22-year-old has been replaced, for the time being at least, by KL Rahul as the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper in white ball cricket. Pant was left out of the playing XI in the first T20 International against New Zealand on Friday, too, with Rahul getting the wicketkeeping duties once again.
As far as coach Shastri is concerned, Pant must work much harder and improve his skills with the glove. “He has to work really hard on his wicketkeeping,” the 57-year-old was quoted as saying in an interview with The Hindu.
“He is not a natural ‘keeper but he’s got all that talent which will go to waste if he doesn’t work on his keeping. I think he has realised that and if you see him now, he is working extremely hard on his ‘keeping as well,” the head coach added.
Shastri also shared his insight on how he deals with Pant as a coach. The hard-hitting left-handed batsman is often guilty of throwing away his wicket with reckless shots. His talent cannot be doubted, but fans are often left wanting more from him.
“I would not like to change his game for anything,” said Shastri. “We tell him to try and understand his game, be selective in shot-making, see what the team demands are, assess the state of the game, figure out a way of how he can play — by still being aggressive but by taking calculated risks. He has a reputation of being a devastating player, big hitter. That is what he has to get used to. Every time he comes to bat, the crowd expects sixes off everything. This is where he has to manage his game properly.”