Rishabh Pant is, without a doubt, an invaluable prospect for Indian cricket. And the panel of selectors has invested heavily in the youngster, providing him with ample opportunities to showcase his talent.
A promising talent from Delhi, Pant has the reputation of being an audacious stroke-player who possesses the instinctive ability to hit the ball a mighty distance - and that too with ridiculous ease. The exuberant left-hander is seen as a successor to MS Dhoni, India's legendary wicket-keeper batsman.
Justifying his selection in the Test team, the dynamic batsman has already crafted two magnificent centuries in the longer format - against Australia and England. But the story hasn't quite been the same in limited overs cricket.
Renowned as one of the most destructive batsmen of the modern generation, the southpaw has somehow faltered repeatedly in ODIs. He has been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism for his shot-selection; he often throws away his wicket in search of the glory shot, even when the situation demands sensible batting.
Following an unfulfilled World Cup campaign, the Indian management decided to groom young players keeping the future in sight, and that saw Pant being selected in the squads across all formats for the tour to the Caribbean. The explosive dasher couldn't have asked for a better platform to impress the selectors; all he needed to do was produce consistent performances and cement his place in the national side.
"It's a great opportunity for someone like Rishabh Pant to play a lot of international cricket and show his credentials, really unleash his potential at this stage. We know how much ability he has and we all want him to be a consistent performer for the Indian cricket team," skipper Virat Kohli said in the pre-match presser at Lauderhill.
However, Pant hasn't made use of his opportunity yet. His absurd dismissals in the ongoing T20 series against West Indies have further stirred up the debate questioning his capability and temperament.
A disappointing golden duck in the opening fixture while attempting a reckless slog-sweep against veteran Sunil Narine raised several eyebrows in the cricketing fraternity. Another cheap exit in yesterday's match did little to silence his doubters.
Cricketing pundits have had their fair share of digs at Pant in the past, criticizing him for gifting his wicket.
You live by the sword, and you also die by it. Your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness as well.
The talent is certainly present, and no one is doubting his potential. But Pant's inability to curb his natural flair has proven to be his demise on alarmingly numerous occasions now.
It is worthy to mention that Pant has displayed remarkable composure on several occasions when put under the pump. His Test centuries and the semi-final of the World Cup 2019 are good examples of that.
If he can effectively mold his game, combining his stroke-making prowess with a touch of caution and a sense of responsibility, he can surely make the transition from an immature prodigy to a batting powerhouse.
At the moment however, Pant remains a fascinating yet frustrating player to watch.Published 05 Aug 2019, 13:36 IST