World Cup 2019: Rishabh Pant needs confidence to flourish, feels Rohit Sharma

World Cup 2019: Rishabh Pant needs confidence to flourish, feels Rohit Sharma

Rishabh Pant in his World Cup debut match against England scored 32 runs laced with 4 boundaries.

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

Even before the announcement of India’s World Cup squad, discussions about Rishabh Pant have been doing rounds. Though he couldn’t make the 15-member team, he came in as a cover for Shikhar Dhawan, who was earlier ruled out. Pant became his replacement and on June 30, he played his first match of the mega event against hosts England at the Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Vijay Shankar missed the game due to a toe niggle and that opened the doors for the left-handed Pant. The southpaw came to bat after India was set with a target of 338. The 21-year-old survived a couple of run-out chances and went on to score 32 off 29 with four boundaries. Liam Plunkett eventually got his number in the 40th over with the Men in Blue still needing over 100 runs in 10 overs.

Now with Shankar being ruled out of the tournament, Pant is likely to get more chances. In the meantime, after India’s 31-run defeat, Rohit Sharma, the team’s vice-captain, was asked whether Hardik Pandya should’ve been sent ahead of Pant. The 32-year-old had a bit of sarcasm, added to his reply.

Pant needs to spend some time in the middle: Rohit

“Not really because all you guys wanted Rishabh Pant to play, right. All you guys, right, from India? Where is Rishabh Pant? Where is Rishabh Pant? There he is at Number 4,” Rohit was quoted as saying in the post-match press conference.

Rohit, who scored his third century of this World Cup, also sounded positive about Pant. He reckons that the batter needs confidence and time in the middle in order to flourish. “He just needs confidence because, obviously, playing his first game, expecting a lot is not right at the moment from him, but he should just come and play and enjoy his cricket.”

“When he does that, he will do well. I think, for someone like him (Rishabh) also to come and play. He needs to spend some time in the middle and see what the pitch is doing, get used to the condition as quickly as possible. So I think it was the right move for him to come at that number (4) because, again, we know what he can do with the bat,” he added.