Former cricketers Wasim Akram, Gautam Gambhir and Ravi Shastri questioned Indian left-handed batter Rishabh Pant’s shot selection in the Super Four match of Asia Cup 2022 against Pakistan, which resulted in his early dismissal at a crucial time in the first innings at Dubai International Stadium.
Pushed into batting first, Rohit Sharma and K.L Rahul came out all guns blazing in a 54-run opening stand. Reverting to their aggressive attacking approach, Virat Kohli top-scored with 60 off 44 balls, hitting four fours and a six. But the rest of the batters, including Pant, fell quickly in a bid to go big as India posted 181/7 in 20 overs.
Pant, who didn’t play in the Group A match against Pakistan as Dinesh Karthik was preferred, was included in the eleven for Sunday’s match over the veteran keeper-batter. Pant hit two fours in his 14 off 12 balls before reverse-sweeping straight to backward point off Shadab Khan.
In the videos that have come online on social media, as soon as Pant returned to the dressing room, Rohit was seen asking him the reason for his shot which led to his dismissal. Pant was also seen explaining to the India skipper his reasoning behind playing that shot.
After the match ended, Gambhir expressed his disappointment on Star Sports over Pant’s manner of dismissal. “Rishabh Pant will be disappointed because that’s not his shot, his shot is probably hit it over long-on or deep mid-wicket, you end up hitting over there and get out, absolutely you can take it because that’s your strength. Your strength is not reverse-sweeping.”
Akram too agreed with Gambhir’s views. “Especially, Gauti (Gambhir), at that stage of the game, there was no need to play that shot. I know he plays that shot in Test cricket, I know he is one of the top players in world cricket but in this stage of the game, that shot wasn’t required.”
Shastri, who as head coach of India had drilled the importance of appropriate shot selection in Pant, pointed out how Pant hadn’t learnt from the type of shots played by Rohit, Rahul and Kohli.
“Particularly after what he saw Rohit, Rahul and others were doing. Where were the runs coming? It was down the ground and in the V. It was a beautiful pitch, hats off to the groundsmen, the ball was skidding onto the bat. That’s his strength, he can smack it. No boundary is big for Rishabh Pant if he connects it, but that’s his area. Absolutely, right (on criticism over shot selection).”