Asia Cup: Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant’s shot selection berated by former cricket legends
Former Indian cricketers Ravi Shastri and Gautam Gambhir were joined in the criticism of Rishabh Pant’s poor shot selection by Pakistan legend Wasim Akram during the Men in Blues’ five-wicket loss to Pakistan in the Asia Cup on Sunday, September 4. The wicketkeeper-batter was dismissed off a googly by Shadab Khan, as he tried to reverse sweep the ball which was bowled on the outside leg. He mistimed the attempt which went straight to Asif Ali at backward point, resulting in his dismissal at a crucial juncture.
“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 getout, absolutely you can take it because that’s your strength. Your strength is not reverse-sweeping,” Gambhir told Star Sports.
India eventually lost the Super 4s match that was decided in the penultimate ball of the game. Legendary Pakistan pacer Akram believes that the southpaw, who is known for his power-hitting skills, could have avoided the shot that he hit in the middle overs.
“Especially 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 at that stage of the game, that shot wasn’t required,” Akram said.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and opener KL Rahul started the Indian innings on an aggressive note, hitting regular boundaries and maximums at will, and former India coach Shastri said the southpaw should have observed where the opening duo got their runs from.
“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 on to 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,” Shastri concurred.