India head coach Rahul Dravid recently said that the team management would have “a level of conversations” with wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant regarding his shot selection. Pant was dismissed for a duck in India’s second innings during the loss to South Africa in the Johannesburg Test, with him nicking a delivery after trying to smash it over extra cover. This prompted severe criticism of Pant by fans and pundits. “We know Rishabh is a positive player and he plays in a particular manner which has gotten him success. But yeah, of course, there are times, we will have a level of conversations with him around, it is just about the timing of that shot you know. No one is going to tell Rishabh not to be a positive or aggressive player. Sometimes it is about choosing the timing to do that,” Dravid said in response to a question after the match.
Asked by a fan on his YouTube channel whether it was right of Dravid to say he would speak to Pant, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt backed the Indian head coach.
“He (Dravid) had said that he would talk to Pant. Is it a good idea to do this? I think maybe he was asked a question, in response to which he said this. Had he said this without being prompted, then it would have been awkward but I don’t think he would have said this without a question. Someone must have asked him about Pant and he must have said ‘yes, I will talk to him’. And this much, every coach would say,” Butt said.
“If you keep stepping out so blatantly, keep getting out in three-four consecutive series and you are not offering a lot of output because of which the team is suffering, the captain is going to talk to you, the coach is going to talk to you. It is his (the coach’s) job to talk to players to correct things,” he added.
“It has been so frequent from Pant now. It is not that he isn’t a good player, or that he will be dropped from the team but it is about getting the maximum out from a player like him. Given the talent he has, you don’t want him wasted.”
Asked by another fan as to when Pant would “mature” as a batter, Butt replied saying, “He has been playing for a long time with some of the top-notch players of the world – with his (Test) captain (Virat) Kohli, he has shared the dressing room with (MS) Dhoni too, Rohit Sharma as well. So, it should happen soon. But at times it does take time with some individuals. Some players take time (to mature) and some do so very soon. So let’s hope it happens soon, rather than never.”
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