A day after Brian Lara spoke highly of Rishabh Pant for showing improvement in his batting, former England captain Kevin Pietersen has put forward a completely opposite thought regarding the wicketkeeper batsman. Pietersen feels Pant has not shown any significant growth since first bursting onto the scene in 2017 and that is preventing the 22-year-old’s progress.
Pant has scored 31, 37*, 28, 38 and 37 in the first five IPL matches for the Delhi Capitals. On Friday against Rajasthan Royals, Pant was dismissed cheaply for 5. A string of low scores is what pushed Pant out of India’s limited-overs set up earlier this year, and Pietersen reckons that if the youngster aims to reclaim his place in the team, he’d need to come up with better returns.
“Rishabh Pant is somebody who disappoints. Because he is someone, I expect so much from,” Pietersen said on Star Sports. “And, I am yet to consistently see him giving performances with the bat day in and day out. In order to get that Indian tag, and to play international cricket, you need some consistencies. You need to get better. I am seeing the same player I saw a year before, and a year before, and a year before that. As long as he has been playing, he’s been inconsistent.”
Pant is one of the promising youngsters believed to have the potential of taking over India’s wicketkeeping duties in the long run now that MS Dhoni has retired. Besides Pant, another young wicketkeeping prospect that comes to mind is Sanju Samson. The Royals opener began his IPL 2020 campaign with consecutive fifties but he too has shown a dip in form with four single-digit scores in back-to-back matches.
But having said that, Pietersen reckons Samson’s transformation has impressed him more than Pant. “Whereas, when I see Sanju Samson, I see completely different. The dedication, the commitment he put in to turning up for this year’s IPL, that impressed me. That actually got him ahead of Rishabh Pant for me, just purely from diet-base, fitness base and from dedication,” Pietersen said.
“He said I want to go out there and do everything I can to play cricket for India. He’s got runs after runs. He failed a couple of times. But that dedication is what you need to get into international cricket because when the going gets tough, the tougher gets going. And international cricketer is a tough space.”