The performance of Rishabh Pant, who was brought into the team in place of MS Dhoni, has not been good enough. Following his entry into Team India, he missed some catches and misfielded, at times, while keeping wickets. His batting performance was not good, but he has got some support from the team management and was given chances to prove himself.
As he got chances, in one match he made a half-century and tried to stabilize his position in the team. But, he needs some improvement in his wicket-keeping style and to make a strong comeback to the team.
MSK Prasad Believes That Pant Needs A Specialist Coach
The chairman of selectors MSK Prasad and former Test wicket-keeper himself believes that the newly assigned wicket-keeper of team India, Rishabh Pant, needs to work with a specialist coach to improve his wicket-keeping skills. When he misses catches, people get disappointed. Some said that he should leave that position because he is not a good fit. It is, however, the belief of the team management that he is still around.
Comparing Pant With MS Dhoni is not fair because both have their benefits. They do their best and face their challenges.
Prasad said, “Thinking of Pant, the questions we get is that: what is stopping Pant’s keeping? Is it lack of confidence, practice or he is not a natural? “It’s a combination of everything.”
“See, he is young and is still a work-in-progress. But there is a lot of time ahead for him. Since he got into the Indian side at a young age, he hasn’t played much domestic cricket. That is also one of the reasons,” Prasad added. “I am sure he will come back strong. It’s also good that this has happened early in his career.”
The limitations of the Pant with the gloves have now overshadowed his shot selection with the bat. On the basis of pure glove-work, Pant lost his position in the Test side during home games against South Africa and Bangladesh to Wriddhiman Saha.
Prasad feels that the struggle of Pant with the bat could have played an adverse role in his keeping. “If you don’t keep well, it affects your batting. And if you don’t get runs, it affects your keeping. Whenever you are under pressure, you stiffen up. Your arms, shoulders, biceps, forearms — everything stiffens up. That’s when the ball starts popping out because of hard hands,” Prasad said.
Prasad continues by saying being relaxed is the only way to overcome this stiffness. “When you are in a relaxed state of mind, the way you receive that ball is different from the way you collect when you are under pressure,” he added.
Pant has already experienced many highs and lows at 22. There are signs of improvement in Pant’s ability says Prasad, saying he can build and pace his innings.
“He is focusing on playing long innings now, rather than going there and trying to hit every ball that he faces. He will learn with age. Just like you look to middle the ball when you’re batting, wicketkeeping is about collecting the ball in the middle of the gloves,” he said.