Former India cricketer Akash Chopra has criticized Rishabh Pant, saying that the wicket-keeper batsman has not really batted the way he can in the T20I series against New Zealand. Chopra added that Pant is an exceptional Test cricketer, but he is yet to prove his skills in other formats.
India won the third T20I against New Zealand by 73 runs in Kolkata on Sunday, and swept the series 3-0. Batting first against the Blackcaps, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan put on 69-run opening partnership before the latter fell to Mitchell Santner in the seventh over. The New Zealand stand-in captain continued bowling good length deliveries, and dismissed Surykumar Yadav for a duck in the same over.
His shot selection in third T20I, which came at a crucial point in the game, brought about debates among fans and experts. Akash Chopra stated that the middle-lower order is still a concern for India as Pant has not batted to his full potential. The former India Test opener also added that Pant is still figuring out his game in limited-overs cricket.
"The middle-lower order is still a concern because Rishabh Pant hasn't really batted the way we wanted him to bat. He hasn't batted the way he can bat, you expect more from him," he said.
"The runs come from his bat, he hits sixes as well but I feel he hasn't yet fully cracked the T20 code, which is a bit of a disappointment. He is absolutely sensational in Tests, it is the format he has cracked easily but he is still figuring out his ways in the other formats."
Reflecting on Pant's performance in recent T20 matches, former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori stated that Pant lacks the flow and momentum while batting in the shortest format.
“He hasn’t got his tempo right in T20 cricket," Vettori told ESPNcricinfo. "He hasn’t quite understood his role, particularly in this series. Sometimes he is overly cautious, then he is reckless. It doesn’t feel like there is a flow to his game. When you see great T20 batters batting well, it is all about flow and momentum and you just feel a rhythm to it. He hasn’t quite got that yet."