Mumbai: After a convincing victory against Bangladesh in 2nd T20I, stand-in captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday strongly backed an under-fire Rishabh Pant, urging critics to “leave him alone” as he is only trying to execute the team management’s strategy.
Rishabh Pant has been under speculation as his shot selection has come under the scanner on several occasions, became the centre of unwanted attention due to his poor glovework in the second T20 against Bangladesh in Rajkot.
After batting, his glovework has also been in question as he stumped Liton Das but when seen in reply he collected the ball ahead of stumps that means the ball was called no-ball.
“You know there is a lot of talk happening about Rishabh Pant every day, every minute. I just feel that he needs to be allowed to do what he wants to do on the field. I would request everyone to keep their eyes away from Rishabh Pant for a while,” skipper Rohit said on the eve of the T20 series decider against Bangladesh here.
Further, he added, “He is a fearless cricketer and we (team management) want him to have that freedom. And if you guys take your eyes off him for some time, it will allow him to perform even better.”
Pant was previously considered as three format keeper for India after MS Dhoni but, Wriddhiman Saha played ahead of him in the three Tests against South Africa at home last month only on the basis of superior glovework.
“He is a young guy, 22, trying to make his mark in international cricket. Every move he makes on the field, people start talking about him. It is not fair. I think we should allow him to play his cricket which actually he also wants to do,” Rohit didn’t hide his irritation at constant criticism that the Delhi man is subjected to.
He has been in great form in IPL since his start of career In T20 Internationals, having scored 352 runs in 22 games at 20.70. In 12 ODIs, he has scored 229 runs at 22.90.
In fact, Rohit said that just like his unimpressive performances are highlighted, there should be the focus on good things also. He said, “Focus on him a lot more when he is doing good things also, not just bad things. He has been learning, there have been times he has kept well also. He is trying to do what the team management wants him to do.”