Team India captain Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind Rishabh Pant after questions were raised over the left-hander's aggressive approach on Day 6 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton.
Rishabh Pant was the top scorer for India in the second innings against New Zealand, scoring 41 off 88 balls. However, he perished to a horrible slog, trying to take on Trent Boult as India eventually folded up for 170.
As they hurtled towards defeat in the WTC final, despite two full days being lost to rain, India’s inept batting was severely criticised. At a virtual press conference following India’s eight-wicket loss, Kohli was asked if he thought Rishabh Pant should be more watchful while batting in England, where the ball moves around a lot. Defending the young wicketkeeper-batsman, the Indian captain said:
“Rishabh Pant is definitely going to be a very expressive player, whenever he gets an opportunity. Whenever there is a situation that needs to be understood, he assesses it really well. When things don’t come off, you can say that it was an error of judgment. That’s acceptable; it’s sport. But, we don’t want him to lose his positivity or his optimism in changing the situation for the team. That’s where his USP lies ,and we will definitely continue to back him to play that way, find ways to put pressure on the opposition and score runs, which is his natural game."
Virat Kohli continued in this regard:
“We are not too worried about Rishabh Pant. It is up to him to understand whether it was an error of judgement and rectify it moving forward. He has a long career in the Indian team and is someone who can certainly be a match-winner for India consistently in the future."
Looks like he is playing in the garden: Michael Vaughan on Rishabh Pant
Earlier, former England captain Michael Vaughan, who is known for his witty and bizarre tweets, described Rishabh Pant’s innings on Wednesday by saying that “he looks like he is playing in the back garden.”
Although Rishabh Pant hit only four fours in his 41, he attempted several attacking strokes. Taking to Twitter, Michael Vaughan wrote:
"My favourite cricketer to watch at the moment …. @RishabhPant17 !!! #TestChampionshipFinal …. love how he looks like he is playing in the back garden."
Rishabh Pant was the seventh wicket to fall in India’s second innings, at the score of 156. India soon crumbled to 170 all out and lost the WTC final by eight wickets.