Rishabh Pant is an integral part of our plan in next few months, says Rahul Dravid: Indian head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday made a clear-cut clarification that Rishabh Pant is a very “big” and “integral” part of the Indian set-up going forward in the T20 World Cup 2022.
Pant, who led India against South Africa in absence of Rohit Sharma, had an underwhelming series with the bat. The southpaw could only score 58 runs in five matches and got dismissed every time nearly on a similar kind of delivery.
His poor outing against South Africa ignited a fresh debate about whether he should be in the Indian T20I squad or not. His place in the shortest format team has been questioned by the netizens following his dismal performance.
However, head coach Rahul Dravid has cleared the buzz saying Rishabh Pant is going nowhere from the Indian setup.
“Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not concerning him. Certainly, he is a very big part of our plans going ahead in next few months,” Dravid said during the post-match press conference.
“I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a slightly attacking brand of cricket, to take the game on a little more. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge it based on two or three games,” the head coach said.
Dravid was pretty impressed with Rishabh’s strike rate during the IPL. Although his overall numbers and averages didn’t look exemplary, he surely managed to carry a strike rate of 150 plus.
“I think he had a pretty good IPL in terms of strike-rate even though it might not have looked good on averages. In IPL, he looked to move up a little bit (in terms of averages) and probably three years ago he was on those numbers. We are hoping that we can get those numbers from him at the international level.”
Pant’s services are indeed elite and his style of gameplay is unique. Often he loves to suppress the opposition with his dominating shots which comes with high risk. The coach is ready to pay the price looking at a bigger picture ahead.
“In the process (of playing an attacking game), he might go wrong in a few games but he remains an integral part of our batting line-up with the power he has and the fact that he is a left-hander is important to us in the middle overs, he played some good knocks,” he said.
Dravid also heaped praises on Pant for his good captaincy. The coach felt that Pant did considerably well after going down 2-0 in the first two matches.
“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” Dravid was clear in his thought-process.
“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” the coach was all praise for the stand-in skipper.