Rishabh Pant has been struggling for form in international cricket in the last couple of series. In the West Indies tour, he managed just one fifty across all formats while in the two-match Twenty20 International series against South Africa, he had scores of 4 and 19. Pant has not managed to capitalise on the opportunities that were presented to him in both ODIs and T20Is. With Pant now the first-choice keeper across formats, the pressure on him to deliver is immense. VVS Laxman, the former India batsman who currently is on commentary duties on Star Sports, has suggested one simple idea for Pant to regain his form.
"Pant should bat at number 5 and 6, where you have the license to go out and express yourself and at the moment he doesn't know the right method of scoring runs at number 4. The nature of Rishabh Pant's batting is that he plays aggressive shots...unfortunately at the international level he is not able to succeed at the number four position. Every player goes through this phase, his natural game is free flowing but suddenly he is not gaining the same results (which he did with Delhi franchise in the IPL)," Laxman said.
In the three-match T20I series against West Indies, he managed scores of 0,4 and 65* while in the ODIs, he scored just 20 and 0. Even in the Tests, his highest score was 27 but his keeping was solid. Laxman said that every player goes through a rough patch at some point in their careers.
"He is trying to evolve and trying to add different dimensions to his game by rotating the strike that we saw in the previous match but unfortunately, his shot selection at the start of the innings has not been great. There are other people to bat at number 4 like Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer who are experienced and could play at that spot. He also has a lot of pressure as he is taking the place of MS Dhoni who has done a lot for Indian cricket, to get his confidence back the team management needs to let him go bat at number 5 or 6 and express himself," Laxman said.
With the three-match Twenty20 series ending 1-1, the focus now shifts to the Test matches which begin on October 2 in Vizag followed by matches in Pune and Ranchi. The last time South Africa toured India for a Test series, they were hammered 3-0 in the four-Test series.