Mohammad Kaif has stated that Indian management’s inability to figure out a fixed batting slot for Rishabh Pant has had an effect on the southpaw’s form in Indian colours. At Delhi Capitals, Kaif said that the team’s plan is to let Pant face at least 60 deliveries, where he could make an impact.
Rishabh Pant’s staggering change in form has been a concern for the Indian national team. Despite averaging 36 in the IPL for Delhi Capitals, scoring 1736 runs, the southpaw hasn’t been able to translate the same form in the Indian colours. Under Virat Kohli’s leadership, Pant has only been able to score 410 runs in 28 appearances at a paltry average of 20.5.
Whilst many have put it down to his batting inadequacy, Delhi Capitals’ assistant coach Mohammad Kaif put it down to the management’s inadequacy. Kaif strongly opined that his role in the Indian team is muddled, with the southpaw not getting enough deliveries to put on a show. On top of that, the former Indian cricketer labelled Pant as an out and out ‘attacking’ batsman and reckoned that the Indian team should give him a similar role.
“He sometimes bats in the 15th over in a 50-over match. A finisher or an attacking batsman should be given the same role. The Indian team has not been able to figure out Pant’s batting slot right now. But in IPL, we have figured it out. This is why he has played great in IPL, because he plays with a free-flow cricket,” Kaif told former India cricketer Aakash Chopra in his Youtube chat show ‘Aakash Vani’.
Kaif also revealed how the trio- Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting and himself - discussed the 22-year-old’s role in the Delhi outfit, where he decided to give him at least 60 deliveries to face during an IPL encounter. Pant’s best season came in the 2018 season of the IPL, where he butchered every bowler en-route scoring 684 runs in 14 innings, at a worldly average of 52.61. However, since then, he has quite not been able to put his innings on the same bracket with a comparatively average return in the next season.
“So, at Delhi Capitals, me, Dada and Ricky Ponting discussed a few times that whether to send Pant at no. 3 or no. 4. But later we decided that Pant should get at least 60 balls to play. It doesn’t matter which position he is batting at, he needs to get final 10 overs. This thing has not yet been decided by Indian team,” Kaif added.
“Rishabh Pant is a free-flowing player. You have to set his batting position, that he will bat at this position and he will get this many overs to play. He needs to be clear in his head that he will get this many overs so that he is not thinking whether he needs to take singles, or if he needs to defend. He is an attacking batsman, he should start hitting attacking shots from the first ball,” he concluded.