Little kick on his back will help Rishabh Pant: Irfan Pathan

Written by Abhishek Patil

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes the current unwanted break due to the coronavirus pandemic will help youngsters like Rishabh Pant in regaining their confidence back. With a fair share of limelight on him after MS Dhoni’s sabbatical from international cricket, Pant has struggled immensely and is yet to cement his spot in the Indian team.

“If you talk of Rishabh Pant, he is a young guy, very talented, there was a lot of focus on him. So the focus getting removed from him, it will do a world of good to Rishabh Pant and many other cricketers,” Pathan said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.

Dhoni had opted for a sabbatical from international cricket following India’s exit from the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup. The former India captain has since not turned up in an Indian jersey. In his absence, Pant was backed by the team management as the number one wicket-keeper in white-ball cricket.

However, a string of failures with the bat and ordinary show behind the stumps saw him struggle. KL Rahul has now emerged as the number one choice in ODIs and T20Is ever since he came on as an injury replacement for Pant in an ODI against Australia at home earlier this year. Rahul displayed impressive form with the willow on India’s tour of New Zealand in February this year and has since kept Pant on the bay.

Pathan believes Pant needed a kick on his back after being backed too much by Kohli and the team management which might help him in performing well when cricket resumes after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sometimes you are getting too much backing which Virat Kohli is backing him in the public eye as well, but I think when you get a little bit of kick on your back, that’s when if you have talent you are going to go big,” Pathan said.

“I have no doubt that even though all the pressure is coming on him, he had to miss out some matches in T20 cricket with KL Rahul going out and doing what he did as a wicketkeeper as well and that is going to put pressure, but I think that will do a world of good to Rishabh Pant,” he added.

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Abhishek Patil