Stand-in Indian captain Rishabh Pant is receiving a lot of criticism for his leadership duties in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. Constant criticism is normal for the Indian cricket captain but Pant is struggling with his bat as well, which has drawn more unwanted attention from the fans and cricket pundits.
Former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan feels that the player relies on his instincts far too much and needs to find balance while taking difficult decisions. The 24-year-old wicketkeeper batter was named captain after KL Rahul suffered a groin injury just before the first match in Delhi. Pant had a poor Indian Premier League 2022 (IPL) season with both the bat and as a captain with Delhi Capitals but still, Indian management trusted the youngster to lead India in five-match home series.
“When he scores runs, people talk about him. When he doesn’t, people still talk about him. There’s a similar style of pattern in his captaincy. We have to give him time. He likes to think out of the box. He tries to follow his instincts far too much. He likes to take a lot of chances. He has to find that balance when he makes extreme decisions. It’s just like his batting,” Zaheer Khan said on Cricbuzz.
India lost the first two matches but made a great comeback by winning the next two to level the series. Pant was criticized for not utilizing his bowling options in the first two matches and sending Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the batting order in the second match.
Zaheer Khan believes Rishabh Pant will get better with time
Pant has scored 57 runs in the first four matches at an average of 14.25 and a strike rate of 105.55 in this series. His numbers in international T20 matches are also drawing many questions, with 740 runs at an average of 23.12 and a strike rate of 123.95 after playing considerable 47 matches. But Zaheer emphasized Pant’s hunger and passion for cricket and believes that the player will get better with experience.
“One thing that stands out about him is that he is very serious about his cricket. That no one can question. He is very passionate about the game. He wants to do things at a rapid pace. With time, he will get what he wants because he knows where he is headed,” Zaheer said.