Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif has revealed that Rishabh Pant was looking for an opportunity to bat up the order in IPL 2020. However, the franchise could not give him that chance as they already had a plethora of openers in their side.
Rishabh Pant predominantly batted at the No.4 or No.5 position for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. The Shreyas Iyer-led side used Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, and Marcus Stoinis as openers in last year's IPL, with the captain also batting ahead of Pant on most occasions.
While commentating for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Mohammad Kaif was asked if the Delhi Capitals had thought of letting Rishabh Pant open or bat at No.3.
Kaif was also asked if Delhi had contemplated batting Pant at No.3, considering the damage he could do at those positions.
Kaif said they didn't go through the move owing to the batsmen's poor form and the number of openers the squad already had. Marcus Stoinis didn't open the innings for the same reason.
"It came to the mind once, when he was not scoring runs and was out of form. So we thought of sending him up but we had a lot of openers. We had Prithvi Shaw and Rahane. We even tried a lot to send Stoinis up the order but because we had so many openers, we thought he will do a good job down the order," said Kaif.
Kaif also disclosed that Rishabh Pant had expressed the desire to bat up the order but the team management had to turn down the request.
"So, it all depends on team combination and role. But Rishabh Pant has not batted up the order, he likes to do that, he always keeping asking if he will get a chance to bat up the order. He has the desire to bat up the order, that I know, but the management and coaches need to carry the team considering where you can play the best role," added Kaif.
"Rishabh Pant's intent is always to score runs" - Mohammad Kaif
Ajay Jadeja also asked Mohammad Kaif about Rishabh Pant's mindset towards the game. He responded by stating that the southpaw is always keen to attack the opposition irrespective of his form.
Kaif observed Rishabh Pant's indifferent performances in IPL 2020 had even cost him a place in the Indian limited-overs squad.
"His intent is always to score runs in whatever form he might be. It is the stage of his career where he is also learning. His IPL in the UAE did not go that good this time. So, he was not selected in the ODI and T20I teams as well. So the result is in front of you, if you don't play well, you will not get selected also," said Kaif.
Mohammad Kaif signed off by pointing out that Rishabh Pant still needs to work on multiple facets of his game.
"But he is young and I believe he will learn a lot. He has to learn about fitness, he has to play the long innings and be consistent and has to improve his keeping. So, there are lots of areas of improvement," concluded Kaif.
Rishabh Pant was a pale shadow of his destructive self in IPL 2020. He scored just 343 runs in the 14 matches he played in the prestigious league, that too, at a strike rate of only 113.95.
Published 09 Jan 2021, 23:17 IST