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"Every team does not have a choice to add a player like Rishabh Pant" - Zaheer Khan

Rishabh Pant struck a quickfire 29 runs on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test
Rishabh Pant struck a quickfire 29 runs on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test
Kartik Iyer
Modified 27 Dec 2020, 16:45 IST

Former pacer Zaheer Khan has opined the Indian team needs to invest in Rishabh Pant as very few sides enjoy the privilege of including such players.

While speaking on the Sony Sports Network, Zaheer Khan and Ajay Jadeja shared their views on the divided opinions amongst the experts generated by the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman.

Zaheer Khan was asked if Rishabh Pant deserves a longer rope, considering that he has better numbers than MS Dhoni and Wriddhiman Saha as a batsman after 14 Test matches.

While observing he is not in favour of comparing cricketers, the left-arm pacer responded the Indian team needs to figure out the various types of players they need to achieve their objectives.

"I don't think you should compare players. But you need to see what brand of cricket you want to play and which players you want to do that. And you look for variety in that," said Zaheer

Zaheer Khan pointed out India already has players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who are best suited to perform the required roles at their respective batting positions.

"You consider Pujara a very good player at No.3 because he provides the defense in overseas conditions. Virat Kohli in general comes after him, who plays more shots and increases the pace of the game," added Zaheer

The commentator highlighted Rishabh Pant can play the role of a destructive batsman, just like Adam Gilchrist used to do, in the lower-middle order.

"In the same manner, at No.6 or No.7 if you have a player like Rishabh Pant, like Australia used to have a match-winner in Gilchrist, he also was an X-factor. Yes, such players may not give you the runs always, but the day they play they will score very quickly, so you can add that aspect in your team," observed Zaheer

Zaheer Khan observed India is lucky to have the option to include a player like Rishabh Pant. He added the southpaw needs to be nurtured and allowed to express himself on the field of play.

"Every team does not have a choice to add such a player. You have the choice, whether you want to take it or not is where the opinion is divided. But such style of players do not come often, so they need to invest in him. I have always said that such players should be given more freedom," said Zaheer

Zaheer Khan signed off by stating the Indian team management needs to come up with the requisite balance in the side, with Rishabh Pant having proved his credentials with his numbers.

"Yes, how to get the balance is their responsibility. But the sort of numbers he is generating, although I don't like looking much into that, then there is definitely something," concluded Zaheer

"Rishabh Pant has the capability and that is why the Indian team backs him" - Ajay Jadeja

Rishabh Pant gave the required impetus to the Indian innings
Rishabh Pant gave the required impetus to the Indian innings

Ajay Jadeja pointed out Rishabh Pant does not get inhibited while playing at the highest level. He added that Pant was responsible for providing the spurt to the Indian innings in the company of Ajinkya Rahane.

"Young players generally get subdued when they come into the team but this player when he came to bat today as well, he may not have scored too many runs but the team's scoring pattern changed totally after his partnership with Rahane," said Jadeja

The former Indian captain highlighted Rishabh Pant has enjoyed the backing of the Indian team management because of the unique abilities he possesses.

"He has the capability and that is why the Indian team and management backs him so much because he has that thing which others don't have. But he will always be a part of discussions, that is for sure, not only today but from the day he has come," added Jadeja

Ajay Jadeja signed off by stating that while Rishabh Pant's maverick style might always be a focus of debate, a player like that should always be part of India's playing XI.

"Because he is not the traditional player. He has a different style of playing and has a different ability. I am a big fan of him and according to me playing him is the right decision. He may not give the returns everyday but you can invest in at least one player like that in your eleven," observed Jadeja

Rishabh Pant played a short but pleasing 29-run knock on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia. He stitched together a 57-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane for the fifth wicket. In less than fifteen overs, the dup provided the required momentum to the Indian innings.

Published 27 Dec 2020, 16:45 IST
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