Former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar believes that getting hit on the elbow broke Rishabh Pant's batting rhythm. Agarkar added that the wicketkeeper-batsman should have taken a break rather than continuing with his innings if he was in considerable pain.
Rishabh Pant was suffered a nasty blow to his left elbow while trying to pull a delivery from Pat Cummins during India's first innings of the Sydney Test against Australia.
During a discussion on the Sony Sports network, Ajit Agarkar and Sanjay Manjrekar shared their views on the adverse impact the blow had on Rishabh Pant's innings.
Agarkar pointed out that Pant was looking calm and composed in the middle before the injury. He added the southpaw got dismissed while playing an extravagant drive, a type of shot he had refrained from playing before getting hit.
"He was batting well. He was looking calm till the time he was hit on the elbow. The ball that hit me kicked up a little as it was the new ball. It felt for the first time that he wanted to pull even though he was on the front foot. His batting rhythm changed slightly after he was hit. Before that, it was not looking like he will play the sort of shot he got out to," said Ajit Agarkar.
Agarkar added that Rishabh Pant should have gone back to the dressing room and continued with his innings later if he was in considerable pain, with an in-form Ravindra Jadeja waiting in the wings.
"I couldn't understand if he had that much pain, he could have gone in and come back later because Jadeja who is in good form could have come and played and probably India might have benefited because of that. So, I was surprised that he continued playing despite being in so much pain," added Agarkar.
The former right-arm pacer signed off by highlighting that Rishabh Pant would have to get into the habit of playing substantial knocks once he gets his eye in if he has to continue playing in the top six.
"He made a contribution but the expectation is that if you bat at No.6 and have made 30-35 runs, you go on and post a big score," pointed out Ajit Agarkar
"Rishabh Pant was almost looking like a defeated person after he was hit" - Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar concurred with Agarkar that Rishabh Pant should have taken a break after getting hit as he was not looking his former confident self.
"It felt bad because till the time he was hit, he was looking composed. But Ajit said correctly that if he had gone back at the time, it might have been better. Because his body language changed totally because of that, he was almost looking like a defeated person on the field while before that he was fighting strongly," said Manjrekar.
The former Indian batsman pointed out that it would have been a very bad blow as it took a considerably long time for the wicketkeeper-batsman to take strike again and that he seemed edgy after that.
"He probably does not have a problem with the short ball, he can manage because he is mentally very strong but when he was hit, it might have been very bad because they took a long time to strap him up and after that the way he was walking, his entire enthusiasm was gone and it seemed he will get out," added Manjrekar
Manjrekar signed off by stating that the injury happened at an inappropriate time as Pant looked set and had provided the required momentum to the Indian innings.
"The injury happened at the wrong time because he was around 30 and when he came in the run rate had gone up and it seemed he was like a breath of fresh air," concluded Sanjay Manjrekar
Rishabh Pant was batting on 34 when he was struck on the elbow by a Pat Cummins delivery. He could just add a couple of more runs to his tally before being dismissed and did not take the field during the Australian second innings.
His dismissal triggered a collapse as the Indian team lost its last six wickets, including that of Pant, for just 49 runs to be bowled out for a score of 244 in their first innings.Published 09 Jan 2021, 16:00 IST