Sanjay Manjrekar has backed Rishabh Pant saying that he plays in an aggressive style and is not being rash or carefree after scoring a three ball duck in the Johannesburg Test. Pant was dismissed on a delivery by Kagiso Rabada attempting to play an attacking shot stepping down the pitch.
India lost the second Test of the series in Johannesburg and hosts equalled the scoreline 1-1. Batting was the difference between the two sides as any single batsman was not able to score a hundred for the Indian team. Along with Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant is also struggling for form in recent fixtures.
He was again dismissed on a three ball duck in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test. He was dismissed on a delivery of Kagiso Rabada in an attempt to attack the bowler stepping down the wicket. Several former cricketers criticized Pant for being carefree. Former India cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar has backed Pant saying that it is his natural approach to play attacking cricket and he is not being rash or carefree.
"This is a guy who, in a short career, has played two great Test innings - one against England, one against Australia. During the start of those innings, we have seen these kind of shots being played by Rishabh Pant. This is how Rishabh Pant plays. This is not him being rash or carefree,” Manjrekar said while speaking to ESPNcricinfo.
The short ball is also considered to be Pant's weakness. He has scored 1608 runs from 27 matches in his Test career. He also played a key role in India’s historical Test series win last year. Manjrekar opined that Pant can also the defend very well and he doesn’t have a problem with a short ball.
“I am starting to understand that this guy is pretty sharp here (pointing to brain). People thought the short ball rattled him. He was thinking the next ball is going to be right up. That’s the one that he wanted to take on and I have seen him do that in the past. If he connects that ball and if it goes for a four or a six, then he sort of settles down for the next 30-40 minutes. This is a guy who can also defend well. He doesn’t have a problem with the short ball,” he explained.
"This is Pant’s high-risk way of playing cricket. When you get those exciting results from him, and if you accept that, then you have got to accept this as well. This is one of the occupational hazards with his batting approach.”
Pant is yet to make an impact in the series with scores of 8, 34, 17 and 0 in the two Tests the team have played so far.