While Rishabh Pant may be struggling to pin down his place in the Indian team at the moment, former India all-rounder Madan Lal believes he deserves more opportunities. Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an exclusive chat, Madan Lal said that although Rishabh Pant was struggling at the moment, you are not likely to find another player with his match-winning abilities.
“Look at Rishabh Pant, for example. What a batsman he is! True, he’s struggling right now. But that’s okay. When he gets out of this bad patch, you won’t get another match-winner like him,” Madan Lal told us.
Although he was part of the squad for the Indian team that toured New Zealand earlier this year, Rishabh Pant seems to have lost his place in the XI in the shorter formats for now. KL Rahul was preferred as wicketkeeper-batsman in both ODIs and T20Is in India’s tour of the Kiwi nation.
Madan Lal wants selectors to give Rishabh Pant the freedom to play his game
Madan Lal went on to state that a player like Rishabh Pant needed more freedom to play his game rather than the added pressure that his place in the team is in jeopardy. The man who bowled the first-ever ball in a World Cup game in 1975 suggested that the selectors back him, and give him a long rope in terms of his place in the team.
“He’s praised across the world. Why are we going after him now? We shouldn’t go after him. If I was a selector, I’d leave him free. You play your game without any worry, nobody is going to drop you,” Madan Lal said.
On comparisons between Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni, the former India coach said you could not compare another player to someone of Dhoni’s calibre. Madan Lal went so far as to call such a comparison ‘wrong’.
“How can you compare him (Rishabh Pant) to Dhoni? Dhoni is such a great player, you know? Such a superb captain. You cannot compare anybody with Dhoni. This is wrong,” Madan Lal said.
While Rishabh Pant has not played competitive cricket since the tour of New Zealand earlier this year, it would be interesting to see if he makes a good impression when cricket resumes again. India is scheduled to play Australia in 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs on either side of a 5-match Test series later this year, and early next year.