‘Am I there to play tabla?’- Ravi Shastri confident of helping Rishabh Pant arrest his slump

‘Am I there to play tabla?’- Ravi Shastri confident of helping Rishabh Pant arrest his slump

Shastri hailed the southpaw as a genuine match-winner.

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Rishabh Pant has strained to find his feet in ODIs and T20Is, averaging in the low 20s in both the formats. The southpaw has often had to face brickbats for his poor shot selection that has led to his dismissal on numerous instances. Following India’s campaign in the World Cup, it was communicated the Pant would be the team’s first-choice keeper with MS Dhoni helping in transition.

The 21-year-old has captured the imaginations of the fans in the IPL, but is yet to materialize his talent at the highest level. After the mega event in England and Wales, apart from his fifty versus the West Indies in the third T20I, Pant has succumbed to failures. In the recent T20I home series against South Africa, the left-hander could manage only 23 runs and got out to rash strokes both times.

This guy is world class, says Shastri

Even as he has got backing from some of the former cricketers, he has been greeted with criticism as well. However, Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the national team, has taken the responsibility of helping Pant get his form back. Shastri said that he’s not there as the coach to play the tabla.

“Don’t say team management, I spoke about ‘the rap on the knuckles’. If someone goofs up, I have to pull them up. Am I there only to play tabla? But this guy is world class, this guy can be destructive, can be a destroyer. And we will give him all the support that he needs to prosper in international cricket,” Shastri was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.

This team management will back him to the hilt

Shastri, also a former Indian cricketer, feels that Pant is a genuine match-winner and the team management needs to show patience with the youngster. As per the head coach, Pant has done his bit thus far and will only get better with learnings.

“Pant is different, he is world class and is a brutal match-winner. Very few around in the world game; I can’t pick five on my hands when it comes to white-ball cricket, T20 cricket. So, the patience we will have with him is a lot.

All your media reports and all the experts writing (but) Pant is in great space with this Indian team. Experts, they have a job, they can speak. Pant is a special kid and he has already done enough. And he is only going to learn. This team management will back him to the hilt,” he added.

Watch: Sreesanth’s IPL controversy timeline