My advice to Rishabh Pant is to play with freedom: Shane Watson

Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has advised Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant to play with freedom when on-field ahead of the Qualifier 2 against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. He added that Pant needs to have an air of arrogance and confidence in his batting, when he is at his best with the bat.

“My advice to Rishabh Pant is to play with freedom, have that air of arrogance and confidence — that he does when he’s at his best like he did in that last game against CSK, those one-handed sixes. He’s absolutely crazy, the skills that he’s got, and for me, the advice would be to go out and have that confidence,” said Watson on Game Plan show on Star Sports.

Watson also called the 24-year-old Pant a ‘match-winner’, who can take the game away from the opposition very quickly. “Don’t allow the situations, the leaderships to dictate how you play. You go out and play with freedom — take the game on. If you feel that you can line up a bowler, then you fully commit to it and take him on — because he is a match-winner. He can take the game away from the opposition very quickly — and everyone wants to see that, the team wants to see that and him as a leader wants to see that as well.”

Watson, who lifted IPL trophies as a member of Rajasthan Royals in 2008 and Chennai Super Kings in 2018, was in full praise of Kolkata’s batting order.

“KKR really turned things around. Since Shubman Gill and Iyer (Venkatesh) have started opening the batting and really taking on the game. You can see a big shift from the first leg of the IPL in India to the one in the UAE. The intensity that they showed from ball one was very obvious and they are able to capitalise it in the first six overs.

“And because Tripathi (Rahul) in particular has been so good in middle overs, that it has set up a platform for KKR to turn things around. So, those young openers, their intent is exactly what their team needed — to be able to get the start that the batting unit could really absorb and get the totals they are looking forward to being able to win,” concluded the 40-year-old.

Kolkata and Delhi will face-off in the Qualifier 2 in Sharjah later on Wednesday. The winner of the all-important clash will then take on Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2021 on Friday in Dubai.