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Ganguly says give Pant time to mature

Source: PTI
November 08, 2019 20:37 IST
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While Sangakkara advises the under-fire keeper-batsman to keep things simple

Rishabh Pant attempts a direct hit to run-out Liton Das during the 2nd T20I in Rajkot on Thursday

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant attempts a direct hit to run-out Liton Das during the 2nd T20I in Rajkot on Thursday. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Friday firmly backed the struggling Rishabh Pant, calling the wicketkeeper-batsman a "superb player" who will mature slowly.

The 21-year-old is enduring a woeful run of form in the ongoing T20 International series against Bangladesh and has struggled to make an impact both with the bat and behind the stumps.


"He's a superb player. Give Rishabh Pant time, he will be fine," the former India captain told PTI when asked if India is missing Mahendra Singh Dhoni's safe hands behind the wickets.

"He will mature slowly; you have to give him time. India played really well last night."

The swashbuckling Delhi-player had a forgettable night at his home ground in Delhi, scoring 27 off 26 balls and made errors in calling for DRS as India suffered their first-ever loss against Bangladesh in a T20I.

Rohit Sharma led by example as India levelled the series 1-1 in emphatic fashion in the second T20I in Rajkot on Thursday.

But it was Pant who again made headlines for all the wrong reasons by collecting the ball in front of the stumps, thereby missing Liton Das's stumping off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal.

Pant, however, redeemed himself to an extent with an excellent run-out and stumping.

India play the final T20I of the series in Nagpur on Sunday. The team will play 10 more T20 Internationals against West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the build-up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October next year.

There has been no news yet of Dhoni's availability for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.

Ganguly further spoke about the upcoming first ever Day/Night Test match in India at the Eden Gardens from November 22 to 26. The hosts will take on Bangladesh.

A galaxy of Indian sports stars, including cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, tennis star Sania Mirza, world badminton champion PV Sindhu and six-time boxing world champion MC Mary Kom among others, will be felicitated.

Day one's proceedings are slated to begin with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ringing the Eden Bell.

The Cricket Association of Bengal will felicitate the players who competed in the first India-Bangladesh Test in 2000, a game in which Ganguly made his debut as Test captain.

"Everyone has confirmed. We will have a formal reception in the afternoon," Ganguly added.

Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara has advised under-fire Pant to keep things simple while batting as well as keeping if he wants to regain his lost confidence after a string of failures.

Despite a resounding start to his Test career with hundreds in England and Australia, Pant of late has been struggling to hold on to his place in the Indian team, courtesy poor form both with the bat and behind the stumps.

"It's important for him (Pant) to keep things simple and understand his weakness. Once he is able to work on these areas, he needs to strategise and plan, because for him right now he needs to keep things simple and not be under pressure," said the 42-year-old Sangakkara.

"It's also important for someone to talk to him on his batting and keep him off the pressure and let him be free with his game," he said during the Cricket Live show on Star Sports.

Sangakkara felt Pant needs to be "neat and tidy behind the stumps" as the youngster has been struggling in the ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh also.   

"As a wicketkeeper, it's important to be neat and tidy behind the stumps which will give him confidence and put him in a better position to help his captain in calling for reviews," said the former Sri Lankan captain who was a clean customer behind the stumps throughout his illustrious career.

"If you are looking at the World Cup it's important for him (Pant) to understand what his role is in terms of helping his captain with the right information."

Former India batting stalwart VVS Laxman agreed with Sangakkara but said Pant has things to worry about as far as his batting is concerned.

"I think till the IPL the selectors can experiment especially around the bowling department. As far as batting is concerned, I think Rishab (Pant) will be under the scanner," he said.

But Laxman said at this crucial juncture, a cricketer needs the backing and support of the team management and national selectors.

"It's also important for the selection committee and team management to give confidence and not let the players think of each game as if it's an audition for the World Cup," the 45-year-old stylish batsman said.

"If they are playing their game with that mindset, then they are restricting themselves to not play their natural game. The mindset should be more of representing their country," Laxman added.


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