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“Bit too harsh”- Ajit Agarkar on the criticism aimed at Rishabh Pant

The former fast bowler was rather shocked at the brickbats against Pant.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

He is one of the most polarising figures in Indian cricket currently, Rishabh Pant. Isn’t he? First, he gobsmacks us with his precious talent leaving us wondering why he isn’t in the national side yet. Not only the fans but even the pundits also go WOW every time the Uttarakhand-born pulverizes the bowlers.

Every time he strokes Brobdinnagian sixes or one-handed whips against the likes of even Bumrah in the IPL despite losing his shape, tweets and editorials were churned out demanding his place in the national set-up. Then, he comes and hits his first ball in Test cricket for six before going on to become the first Indian wicket-keeper to hit two centuries in SENA countries.

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And, people are like ‘Wow! More of this in white-ball cricket please.’ And, then disappointment ensues, and it’s realized that talent is not the only thing that it takes to succeed at the top-level. One needs temperament and most importantly the willingness to learn from mistakes.

Which is why despite scoring 65 not out in the last T20I against the West Indies, the talking point leading into the South African series was whether he would learn from the same mistakes that have marred his white-ball career thus far.

Agarkar comes out in support of Pant

As a result, Pant has been under fire, drawing criticism from fans and pundits alike. But going against the tide former Indian fast bowler Ajit Agarkar has come out in support of the southpaw. Agarkar feels that the ongoing scrutiny and criticism aimed at Pant is a bit too harsh. The former fast bowler was rather shocked at the criticism against Pant.

“I cannot believe that there is so much talk around a guy who has two Test hundreds away from India and who can play impactful innings. T20 can sometimes get you into trouble because you have to play shots and the ball was there to be hit, only the execution was not probably to what he would have liked,” said Agarkar in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.

Agarkar also suggested what has always seemed like a logical punt: To drop Pant down the order and allow the likes of Shreyas Iyer to bat at a position he is ideally suited to.

“You also need to decide what you need from him. Do you want him to be a number 4 batsman who bats through the innings or you want him to be that impactful player and you are ready for those sorts of dismissals? But there is too much talk of it. Maybe Shreyas Iyer, who has shown some good form, can come at No.4 and Pant could be dropped down the order and be asked to play freely.” he added.

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