India's batting coach Vikram Rathour has stated that the management feels vindicated with Rishabh Pant's performances as they always believed he has always been a match-winner. He also added that under-fire opener Prithvi Shaw is working on minor technical adjustments and will return back stronger.
Rishabh Pant is one of those players that have the ability to change the momentum of the game. Be it his cameo in MCG or his 97 at SCG and 89* at Gabba, he impacted the batting in a big manner. One of the highlights of the tour for Pant was how he was able to improve and better his game with each passing Test. At first, the challenge was to convert starts into a big score, which he did in Sydney. However, his poor shot to get out had got his detractors up and running.
But in the final Test, Pant not only played a big knock but also a matured one. It saw India's batting coach Vikram Rathour confess that Pant is an 'aggressive' player and someone the team considers as a match-winner, so it was good to see him proving those who were backing him right in the last two Tests.
"We know how Rishabh bats. He is an aggressive player who wants to score runs which is fine, that's what we want him to do. We always wanted him to bring in a bit of discipline and a game-plan involved where he plays his shots but picks the right balls to play those shots. I think he is getting better at it. We always believed he was a match-winner on his day. These two games proved our point," Vikram told Sportstar.
"On day five, the thought was that if we bat well, we can win. Rishabh had started well. His knock put us in the game. Sending him at No. 5 was being discussed for quite some time. We wanted to send in a left-hander. Ravi bhai had a strong belief that left-handers are required as the Australians don't bowl that well to left-handers."
One of the important moments of the series came in the SCG Test when on day five, Rishabh Pant was promoted to bat at no.5 ahead of Hanuma Vihari and the decision proved to be a masterstroke as the southpaw blasted a quickfire 97 to put Australia under pressure. Rathour. the former Indian opener, added that with the left-hander the change in momentum was evident whenever he went out to bat and that was why Pant was promoted up the order.
"Rishabh scored in the 20s and 30s in the earlier games but we could sense a change of momentum whenever he went in. Ravindra Jadeja had done well in Melbourne. So we decided to send Rishabh at No. 5 in Sydney. We knew we could win till Vihari pulled his hamstring. Ashwin already had a stiff back and Jadeja had a broken thumb. That is when we decided that draw is the best option. Vihari was batting well throughout the series but was not able to convert any of his starts. He batted with a lot of character in Sydney despite the injury."
It was a great series for quite a few youngsters but not Prithvi Shaw, who was dropped after a poor first Test. Reflecting on his situation, the batting coach stated that no one has 'perfect technique' and Shaw is working hard on his game and he expects him to 'bounce back' strongly.
"He just had a poor series, a poor Test match. Nobody has the perfect technique and when you fail, people want to find out the reasons. A lot of people have been putting it on his technique. Technique is the easiest thing to blame. Does he need to work on his technique? Of course, not only him, everybody needs to work on their technique throughout their playing careers. You are always looking to get better. Prithvi is working hard on his fitness along with minor technical adjustments. He is still one of the promising young batters for the Indian team and I believe he will make a comeback pretty soon," he concluded.