'When you are struggling for form, you get opinions from all quarters. It's about keeping yourself away from opinions and focus on your game.'
Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel on Thursday advised young Rishabh Pant to ignore criticism and focus on his game, saying dealing with this constant pressure can help him emerge as a better batsman.
Seen as heir apparent to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the 22-year-old Pant has been receiving flak for his failure to perform consistently at the international level.
Pant had an ordinary outing behind the wickets in the recently-concluded series against Bangladesh and the West Indies.
"Today's youngsters have got that advantage of playing with the big players and sharing the dressing room with them. But when you are struggling for form, you get opinions from all quarters. It's about keeping yourself away from opinions and focus on your game," Patel said.
"If you play for India, there would be pressure. Every player has got pressure of different situations. Your skills get honed in such pressure situations.
"In the T20 series (against West Indies) he did well. You see he is having a fun time at the ground as well. He can become a good player when he comes out of such pressure situations," said the Gujarat skipper on the eve of their Ranji Trophy match against Bengal in Kolkata.
On Pant's wicket-keeping technique, the 34-year-old Patel said: "Obviously when you play for India, you have something in you. He made his Test debut in a tough place like England where the ball swings a lot. He is a young player. It's about gaining confidence. It can change in a matter of one-two innings."
Having made his Test debut at 17, the youngest to don the wicketkeeping gloves, Patel has seen it all -- the rise of Dhoni and the unflinching support of the team management for Pant.
"Opinions should not matter when you know that the team management and selectors back you. It's about enjoying the moment and express yourself," he said.
"It's just because he is doing well that there is so much talk about him. He has done well in the last series. He has got the talent and the team is providing him that confidence to do much better," added Patel, a veteran of 25 Tests and 38 ODIs added.
However, when the conversation veered towards India's best wicketkeeper in the Test format, Patel made it clear it's none other than the Bengal pro Wriddhiman Saha.
"There's no doubt about that. The way he takes catches and brings the energy on the field, there's no doubt that he's the No 1 wicketkeeper in the world. The way he goes about his business. He is probably world's best wicketkeeper. He knows what's good for him," he said.