VVS Laxman has said that Rishabh Pant is 'very difficult to bowl to' after the left-hander played a scintillating 77 off 40 balls in the second ODI against England. He said so, as Rishabh Pant has started playing shots all around the park instead of favouring the leg-side of the field.
Nevertheless, VVS Laxman hailed the left-hander's stroke-making on Star Sports, saying:
"Very impressive from Rishabh Pant and right from the word go. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli laid the foundation, but the momentum had to be shifted, and that was done by Rishabh Pant. What I was most impressed with was his range of shots. In the past, we have seen him favouring the on-side, but in this innings, and in the other two formats as well, he showed he has got a good range now. It's very difficult for any bowler to bowl to Rishabh Pant."
Following Shreyas Iyer's shoulder injury, India drafted Rishabh Pant into the playing XI for the second ODI. The game marked the 23-year-old's first ODI outing in more than a year.
Sanjay Manjrekar explains why Rishabh Pant played instead of Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav was a strong contender and a like-for-like replacement for Shreyas Iyer, considering his exploits in the T20I series.
However, the team brought in Rishabh Pant to replace the injured Iyer for the second ODI. Sanjay Manjrekar said the decision to bring in Pant was an obvious call, as the left-hander has been in a rich vein of form across formats.
"Well, the reason is obvious. It was like Rishabh Pant sitting out there on the bench was weighing on the Indian team management. The kind of form Rishabh Pant has shown of late, just the self-confidence, you have to make some use of that. Suryakumar Yadav had a strong claim as well, Shubman Gill too and Ishan Kishan, all these guys are there, but Rishabh Pant's current form, the kind of ability he has, the devastation he potentially can create, it's hard to leave him out." Manjrekar said about Pant on ESPNCricinfo.
With the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting the ground running in the second ODI, it remains to be seen whether Rishabh Pant manages to establish himself in the 50-over format.