Indian wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been at the receiving end following a string of poor performances in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia which the men in blue ended up losing 2-3. Pant, who was drafted into the ODI squad against Australia following his impressive show in the test series down under, failed to live up to the expectations with bat or gloves, putting a big question mark on his place in the World Cup squad.
Pant was heavily criticized for his glovework by fans in the fourth ODI at Mohali who resorted to chants of “Dhoni! Dhoni!” every time there was an opportunity missed behind the stumps. The youngster however revealed that he had not been thinking too much about the incident as he was still on the learning curve and had a lot to achieve in future.
Pant had managed scores of 36 and 16 in last two ODIs, while losing his wicket for three and one in two T20Is against Australia at home. The 21 year old hit back at his critics asking them not to compare him to the great MS Dhoni while admitting at the same time that he was trying to learn as much as possible from the 2011 World Cup winning skipper in the given time frame.
“I’m not thinking about the comparison too much. As a player, I want to learn from him (Dhoni). He’s a legend of the game. I don’t want people to compare but I can’t stop them from doing so. I’m close to him and talk to him about everything how I can improve my game on and off the field,” Pant said as quoted by ANI.
Former Indian cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi was amongst the critics who had slammed the 21 year old calling him a “wild horse” who needed to be tamed.
“Pant is a wild horse. Somebody has to tame him. Who is going to do that? The support staff should be able to do that. He is making the same mistakes again and again and behind stumps, too, he has a lot of work to do, honestly. Your chairman of selection committee (MSK Prasad) is a wicketkeeper, you talk to him at least,” Bedi had said after the Mohali game.
Pant replied to the 1983 World Cup winner’s accusations stating that he was not perfect by any means but would work hard to improve his game with each passing day.
“I’m not saying I’m perfect. I want to learn and keep improving every day. When I went there (Australia), I had something inside, wanted to win a series outside India. Every team member was thinking that we have to do something different and make our team win the series. Every time we go out on to the field, we only think of winning the game. That’s the only thing we are focusing,” Pant added.
Pant is currently gearing up for the 12th edition of the IPL where he will be playing for the Delhi Capitals. The revamped franchise will begin their campaign in the IPL against Rohit Sharma led Mumbai Indians on March 24 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.