Opinion: Rishabh Pant’s match-winning knock against SRH is no reason to pillory the selectors for his exclusion from the World Cup squad
Rishabh Pant has deservedly got a lot of accolades from former cricketers, experts and fans alike after his scintillating match-winning knock for the Delhi Capitals against the Sun Risers Hyderabad in the IPL Eliminator last night.
It was a knock that oozed class and confidence. From a difficult position, he took his team to a famous win. He deserves all the praise that he is getting now, for the superb knock. However, the chorus of criticism of Indian selectors for excluding him from the World Cup squad is uncalled for.
Despite the sheer brilliance of this knock (49 off 21 balls) which shows his ability as a match-winner, as someone who can singlehandedly turn a game in his team’s favour, the fact remains that if at all someone has to be blamed for his exclusion from the Indian World Cup squad, it is no one else, but the player concerned himself.
He was on the radar of the selectors as a second wicket-keeper behind the irreplaceable Mahendra Singh Dhoni, for more than a year, and got a lot of opportunities to cement his spot. Unfortunately, he failed to grab those chances. Ironically, he did much better in the longest form of the game – test cricket.
In the ODIs, however, despite a handful of scintillating knocks, he failed to shine consistently. With Dhoni as a finisher, Indian team required a back-up wicket keeper who could be called upon to do the duty as a dependable middle order batsman. His string of inconsistent performances as a batsman in several matches that the selectors gave him, proved that he is anything but dependable.
In that sense, it was the right decision to take the more dependable Dinesh Karthik as India’s second wicket-keeper. He may not have the hitting power of Pant, but he is a more dependable batsman, and is certainly more safe behind the stumps. Also, the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper is a seasoned campaigner.
So, while it is fine to praise Pant for his knock against SRH, it is grossly unfair to selectors and Karthik to bring in the issue of his exclusion from the Indian squad right now.
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