CHENNAI: At this point, Rishabh Pant’s credentials in red-ball cricket need no introduction. The wicket-keeper batter has been hailed as a modern-day Test cricketer for his aggressive approach, utilising every delivery to score runs. Despite the result in the fifth Test against England at Edgbaston, one of the standout things from the game was Pant’s century in the first innings — his fifth hundred in the format, second in England and fourth outside Asia.
However, Pant hasn’t been able to replicate a similar kind of success in white-ball cricket. His average of 31.08 and 22.58 in ODIs and T20Is don’t really do justice to his talent. There have been instances where he has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of but the 24-year-old has struggled with consistency in white-ball cricket.
That said, former India cricketer and Gujarat Titans coach Ashish Nehra believes that people have to be a little patient with Pant in limited overs. “Rishabh Pant, being the player he is, we don't need to discuss what kind of a talent he is. He has shown that in difficult conditions. So, we have to be a little patient, keep our patience with him,” said Nehra in a select media interaction facilitated recently by Sony Sports Network.
In the T20Is against England, India made Pant open, trying to make the most of the field restrictions, which many former cricketers lauded as a bold move. Nehra felt that it could just be the turning point in his career. “You know what a guy like Pant can do in the first six overs, and with the field restriction, in the future, with more experience, Rishabh Pant is an all-rounder, he's a big asset for the Indian team in any format.”
But the bigger concern probably comes in the 50-over format, where Pant holds a crucial role in the middle order. As one witnessed in the second ODI at Lord’s, where he hit a full toss straight into the hands of the mid-on fielder, getting out for a five-ball duck when India were searching for a partnership while chasing a sub-par total does not look good at all.
While acknowledging that the numbers aren’t great, Nehra said that it could be hard to bring in consistency with the brand of cricket Pant plays. “It’s very difficult to keep performing. Rishabh Pant, what kind of player is he? When it comes to that, we want him to score runs and to score at that strike rate in every format. And that much consistency will only come with time because the kind of player he is, the way he plays, you know, it’s very difficult to get the consistency,” he said.