Former Pakistan cricketer Salman Butt said that Indian wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant played an irresponsible shot against South Africa in the second Test.
India lost to the Proteas by seven wickets after they failed to defend the target of 240 runs in the second innings against a resolute batting order led by Dean Elgar.
India were bowled out for 266, carrying a second-innings lead of 239 after senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara led their fight back in the first session of Day 3.
Both Rahane and Pujara were dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in quick succession with the onus was left on Pant to escalate India’s lead in order to set a huge target for the Proteas.
In the 39th over of India’s second innings, Rabada bowled a short ball to Pant that pinged his gloves but didn’t go aerial. But the very next delivery, Pant came down the track to smash Rabada’s short ball, which he got a thin edge to his counterpart Kyle Verreynne behind the stumps.
Rishabh Pant plays like that due to a lack of confidence: Salman Butt
Butt said that Pant put a price on his wicket by playing a timid shot and feels the batter should first settle at the crease and later attack the bowlers.
“Definitely, he has to put a price on his wicket. His shot against South Africa was irresponsible. I feel that’s not a confident shot. It’s the other way around. He plays like that due to a lack of confidence. If a player stays at the crease and takes time in the middle, things will get better for him. Pant comes in and starts hitting from the word go,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.
“When he started, it looked like a confident shot. But this show at present looks more like a ‘lack of confidence’ shot. His approach hasn’t been helped him score runs in recent times. He is a capable player and has a lot of talent. But he isn’t exploring other options to score runs,” he added.
Rishabh Pant is not even lifting his patience levels: Salman Butt
Pant made his Test debut for India in 2018 and subsequently pipped Wriddhiman Saha as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper because of his ability to score in a free-flowing manner.
With time after time, Pant has faced the wrath of his critics for not batting with enough maturity. Butt said that the southpaw needs to find his time at the crease and build his innings to avoid criticism from everyone.
“He is not even lifting his patience levels. That can be harsh… on the team and the player himself. He is keeping for a leading Test team after replacing MS Dhoni with the gloves,” Butt said.
“If you are replacing someone like Dhoni, you need to rethink your strategy. You are in the team because of your talent… but Test cricket has a lot of time to build the innings. If you hit such kinds of shots, you will receive a lot of flak from experts, analysts and fans as well,” he further mentioned.
India will play against South Africa in the third Test at the Newlands in Cape Town, the match begins on January 11. The three-match Test series is currently locked at 1-1.
Also Read: IND vs SA: Sunil Gavaskar Feels Rishabh Pant’s Dismissal Wasn’t The Reason For India’s Defeat, Says ‘Other Batsmen Didn’t Make Contribution’