Following MS Dhoni’s exit from the national team, the team management gave a long rope to youngster Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batsman played every white-ball game from July to December 2019 but failed to capitalise. He was severely criticised for playing rash shots by head coach Ravi Shastri.
“We’ll let him be but at times when you see a shot, like the first ball dismissal in Trinidad, if he repeats that, then he will be told. There will be a rap on the knuckles, talent or no talent,” Shastri had told Star Sports in 2019.
Despite that, Rishabh kept his place in the playing XI but failed to score again. As a result, the team management moved on from him in 2020. But despite being out of the playing XI, Rishabh is said to have the backing of the team management.
In a recent conversation with Sportskeeda, Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour said it wasn’t easy for Rishabh to replace Dhoni but he has got the backing. “He (Rishabh Pant) hasn’t had a great last year and hasn’t done too well in international cricket. He still has the backing of the team management and we believe he is a special player. He can still bring a lot to the Indian cricket team once he starts scoring,” he said.
“MS Dhoni is still around, we don’t know what is happening with him, but replacing someone like him is not and was never going to be easy, with the kind of stature he had in international cricket. Pant has had a few failures so he has been under pressure to perform, but something like this makes you a stronger and better player,” Rathour added.
Rishabh, who first lost his place to Sanju Samson in the third T20I against Sri Lanka, was retained for the opening ODI against Australia. Although an injury ruled him out Australia’s innings. He missed the second ODI but was available for the third game.
The team management pulled off a surprise by retaining wicketkeeper KL Rahul. He also kept the gloves in all eight white-ball matches in New Zealand. Interestingly, the management gave two opportunities to Samson there but Rishabh wasn’t included in the playing XI.