Saba Karim feels Delhi Capitals (DC) skipper Rishabh Pant is still an "unfinished product" in the shortest format, with some work left to do on his shot selection and situational awareness.
Karim, who is also the head of talent search at DC, recalled a conversation with Rishabh Pant during the first half of IPL 2021 where he told him to play freely and enjoy his time in the tournament. He said Pant now needs to learn from the likes of Surakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to be a "complete player".
"That shouldn't happen (whether his strike rate will be low in the UAE). I am not a part of the coaching staff so I expect Rishabh Pant to perform well not only as a wicketkeeper but also as a batsman. From what I saw in the first half, I liked his attitude a lot. He enjoys the game whether it's batting or keeping. When we talked, Itold him, 'The way you play with India and enjoy the game, you'll have to do the same in the IPL'. I feel Rishabh Pant is still an unfinished product in T20s. He'll have to work harder on his shot selection and playing according to the situation, only then he'll be a complete player. Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are cases in point," Karim said on the YouTube channel Khelneeti.
Although Rishabh Pant impressively led DC to a top-of-the-table finish in the IPL 2021 Points table at the first half of the season, his returns with the bat came under some scrutiny. He batted in eight games, scoring 213 runs at a strike rate of 131.48. The numbers were an improvement from last year but the medicore strike rate (by his standards) gave the feel that he wasn't in his best touch.
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"Rishabh Pant is enjoying the added responsibility of captaincy" - Saba Karim
Saba Karim, who also gave Rishabh Pant his debut T20I cap in 2017, further remarked that the added responsibility of captaining the side hasn't affected the youngster negatively at all. Karim exuded belief that the 23-year-old will come good in the role of a finisher in the UAE.
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"He's still young. I feel he's enjoying the added responsibility of captaincy. He'll reap its benefits with his batting as well in the future. Rishabh Pant is such a player, and is so talented, that he can finish matches. And that's the role Delhi Capitals have entursted on him. He's expected to not only finish matches but also plays an important role while setting the target while batting first," Karim added.
As per the IPL schedule 2021, DC will play their first match of the second phase against Kane Williamson's Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 22 in Dubai.