Indian batsman Rishabh Pant needs to improve his off-side game if he wants to progress from being a one-trick pony, Reuters quotes former Australian batsman Dean Jones as saying.
The young wicket-keeper-batsman is regarded in limited-overs cricket for India as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s natural successor when the former captain eventually hangs his gloves.
But the 22-year-old recently received a lot of flak from India’s coaching staff, pundits, and the media after losing his wicket through loose shots, and the fit-again Wriddhiman Saha kept wickets for the Indian Test side.
Jones said, “He’s still a young kid, still learning his craft, still doesn’t know what’s going on a little bit. He needs to work more on his strokeplay through the offside. At the moment, he’s just a bit of a one-trick pony.
He added, “We know he’s got an off-side game, he’s just got to work more. It wouldn’t take long to change, but he needs to be very specific in his training program right now.”
Jones, an expert for Select Dugout, from Star Sports, cited the example of Quinton de Kock, a South African stumper batsman, who top-scored for them in the recent Twenty20 series against India.
“Quinton de Kock changed his game, that was very evident in the last T20 series against India,” said Jones, who played 52 Tests and 164 one-day internationals for Australia.
Pant played 11 Tests in the absence of the injured Saha and used his chances well, hitting a century in an Oval Test against England last year while smashing an unbeaten 159 versus Australia in Sydney in January.
His six-hitting ability makes him a limited-overs asset, but in recent interviews, India’s head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour said the shot selection of the left-hander sometimes let the team down.
“When you are going through a bad phase you start doubting your strokeplay,” Jones said. “Ultimately you’ve got to go with the gut feeling when you play T20 cricket. And at the moment I think he’s second-guessing his talents.
With India boasting a top three of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and talisman Virat Kohli, Jones thinks the number four batsman should be one who can hold the innings together when the side suffers an early loss of wickets.
“He’s a very important player, the number four has to come in at 10-2 or 100-2,” he said. “(India) probably didn’t have a glue player — to be able to work singles, still hit boundaries and be able to put on a good score — coming in at 10-2.”