Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is now a regular starter in India’s limited-over formats and the spotlight is heavily on him with Sanju Samson breathing down his neck. Though India lost the second T20I against West Indies convincingly, Pant had a good time with the bat as he played a superb unbeaten cameo of 33* from 22 balls.
However, the young wicket-keeper batsman has failed to convert his knocks into a big one in the recent past and his wicket-keeping has also been below average. With big shoes to fill of someone like MS Dhoni, the youngster is feeling the heat of the India fans since the start of his international career.
Meanwhile, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes that under-fire Pant needs to be given time to mature and urges people to have patience in order to see his full potential.
“He is young and he has that energy and enthusiasm, he plays in the IPL, and he plays for India and is just living his dream. There will be a lot of critics around him, he’s only 21 (22),” Petersen told during a show on Star Sports.
Apart from the fans, the commentators including the cricket experts have also been criticising Pant since the start of his career and dragging him into the spotlight right every bad innings.
However, Pietersen sees it as constructive criticism and insisted that they want Pant to learn from his mistakes rather than repeating it over and over again.
“I observed him very closely during the IPL and he kept making the same mistake and when you do that continuously then pundits, experts and people who have played the game want to criticize you because you should be learning from your mistakes. “But I never realized he’s 21, I thought he was 24 or 25, because by that age you have matured in your game and at the age of 27-30 is when you are playing your best sport,” he added.
The former England batsman also admitted that the Indian captain Virat Kohli and the team management is backing him from the beginning and said the youngster has a long way to go.
“If you look at all the mistakes he has made and the position he is in, with the team and Virat backing him and with MS out at the moment, he does have a long way to go,” Pietersen concluded.
Meanwhile, West Indies legend Brian Lara also supported Kohli’s decision of backing Pant to allow him to be a mature batsman. He also gave an example of the West Indies team which played 30 years ago.
“I agree with captain Virat Kohli on supporting Pant as this is a very successful Indian team and I remember the West Indies team 30 years ago, we had guys in there who weren’t performing well but they were kept in the team because the team was doing very well.”
“And we had all the great players but you never heard about Gus Logie or Carl Hooper because they weren’t doing that well but they were allowed to mature and I feel Rishabh Pant should be allowed to mature,” Lara said.