Former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar has opined that Rishabh Pant should be given a little more freedom as he brings an X-factor to the team. He also feels the southpaw possesses the ability to win matches on his own.
Rishabh Pant had set the cat among the pigeons in the Aussie camp with his breathtaking assault on their bowlers. Although he could not go the whole hog by taking India to a victory, his destructive knock went a long way in helping the visitors secure a creditable draw on the final day of the Sydney Test.
During a discussion on the Sony Sports network, Ajit Agarkar and Sanjay Manjrekar shared their views on the impact Rishabh Pant's promotion and his blazing knock had on the result of the third Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Ajit Agarkar started by pointing out he has always been a fan of the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman for his ability to win matches single-handedly.
"I have always been his fan. That does not mean that he keeps repeating his mistakes, he should keep learning. We had seen his batting on the last tour as well. He is an X-factor and has the ability to win matches on his own," said Agarkar
While acknowledging that Wriddhiman Saha is a better gloveman between the duo, Agarkar observed that Rishabh Pant should have played the first Test of the series because of his match-winning abilities.
Agarkar further highlighted the pressure Rishabh Pant had put on the Australian team with his destructive knock at the SCG.
"If you have a player like this in your team, he should definitely get a chance. That is why I was a little disappointed that he was not played in the first Test. Everyone knows Saha is a better keeper than him but he can do this. He might have got chances, catches were dropped but he has the ability. The pressure was put back on Australia the way he played and he will keep learning with experience," added Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar also said Rishabh Pant is still young in international cricket and deserves more freedom to express himself on the field. He went on to laud the southpaw's aggressive batting against Nathan Lyon.
"It looks like Rishabh Pant has been playing for the last 5-6 years but he has played only 15 Test matches or even lesser. It is the early part of his career and he should be given a little leeway. Nathan Lyon, who is such a good bowler, he attacked him and put him under pressure. I will say again he did get chances, but he has the X-factor," concluded Agarkar
Rishabh Pant is not just a slogger: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar observed Rishabh Pant has a method to his batting and is not just a 'slogger', as was evident in the way he played Nathan Lyon.
"The other speciality is that we feel that Pant is just a slogger. But if you see his range, he caused a lot of difficulty to Nathan Lyon as he was going down the pitch and playing attacking shots and even went inside the crease to play his shots," said Manjrekar
The former Indian batsman also said Rishabh Pant had caused a lot of problems to the Aussie off-spinner by attacking him both off the front foot and the back foot.
"When someone lofts the ball and then goes deep inside the crease to play the cut, he is the most difficult batsman for the spinners and that is Rishabh Pant against Lyon," added Manjrekar
Rishabh Pant's exhilarating knock had given India an outside chance of winning the Sydney Test. Although he might be disappointed for throwing his wicket away at a crucial juncture, his knock went a long way in releasing the pressure on the Indian batsmen.
Published 12 Jan 2021, 13:12 IST