One of India’s crucial support staff, R Sridhar has pointed out that the biggest positive from the Australia series was that Pant has become more open to learning and improving. He also hailed Pant’s influence, stating that he is a package with many positives while still working hard on his keeping.
Going into the Australian series, Rishabh Pant was dealt with a blow as he wasn’t picked in the white-ball leg as India opted to place their trust on KL Rahul. Post that, even in the two warm-up games, Wriddhiman Saha had shown more than Pant for the management to include the senior gloveman for the Adelaide Test.
However, since the Adelaide shambles, the management were clear that Rishabh Pant was the way forward, both in terms of providing an edge with the bat while still staying calm behind the stumps. India’s fielding coach R Sridhar, post the series win has opened up about Pant’s influence on the team. He insisted that the southpaw has become more open to learning and improving throughout the series, which has made him a better cricketer.
“He is 23 and keepers tend to get mature as they grow. Things will improve. As a fielding coach, the biggest positive I'm seeing is he has become more open to learning and improving. He listens a lot these days and wants to improve his keeping skills more than ever,” Sridhar told New Indian Express in an exclusive interview.
"There have been so many days on this tour where he says 'I don't want to bat, I only want to keep' and we have done keeping drills for one-and-a-half hours. It is a good sign and he is willing to take the extra mile. It will take time. Keeping is not an easy skill,” he added.
The Indian fielding coach also opened up on the move to promote Pant in the Sydney Test. He revealed that it was a very well thought out move from the management, who wanted him to bat as many overs before taking advantage of the new ball.
"It was a very well thought out move from Ajinkya (Rahane), Ravi bhai (Shastri) and Vikram (Rathour). They came up with that and we were clear he should get to face as many overs as possible before the second new ball. By the time the second new ball was taken, he was well set like in Brisbane. We have always been flexible with the batting factoring the left-right combination,"
Alongside that, Sridhar also applauded the southpaw’s attitude while praising his mental toughness. He also insisted that the management would do everything to get him ready for the four-match home series against England, hinting at him starting over Saha.
“I don't know if Pant feels any pressure. He is always the kind of guy who will take things as it comes. He was nervous initially, like any cricketer. He is quite tough mentally. We have to get him ready (for the England series). After his exploits in Brisbane and Sydney, he is a sure shot. The whole world will be looking at him,” he added.
However, Sridhar stressed that Pant will not become a marvel overnight, people have to keep backing him and giving him chances before he gets to improve. Realistically, he insisted that India is one of the toughest places to keep wickets, which will only make him work harder.
“Make no mistake, India is one of the most difficult places to keep wickets. In England, it is difficult to keep against seamers and that is the same here when spinners are operating. He is going to work hard. But people have to be realistic as well. He is not going to become a marvel overnight. People have to be realistic. One thing for sure is he will give his 100 percent.”