Rishabh Pant received criticism for the striking difference between his performance in red-ball and white-ball cricket matches. Although he has proven to have a “special” talent in the longest cricket format, he doesn’t deliver a similar performance in T20I and ODI categories.
The Indian cricketer came under scrutiny after the most recent white-ball series against South Africa where he only scored 58 runs in 5 innings. Pant couldn’t perform as well as he did in a Test against England despite facing less tough conditions.
During the Test, Pant scored 146 runs off 111 balls in the first innings. Later in the second innings, he also made 57 runs off 86 balls.
In the Test category, Pant has recorded 2123 runs in 31 Tests with an average of 43.3. He also has an average strike rate of 72.66, which is considered good. Throughout his Test career after his debut in 2018, he has produced 5 centuries and 10 half-centuries, mostly abroad.
In the ODI category, the wicketkeeper-batter has scored 715 runs in 24 matches, averaging at 32.50. His current ODI strike rate is at 109.32 and he also recorded 5 centuries in those matches, which improves his record.
Pant’s poorest performance is in the T20I category, although he debuted in this category earlier than the other two, in 2017. He got 741 runs in 48 matches, averaging only 23.15. His T20I strike rate (123.91) is also worrying considering that he is a natural free-form stroke player.
His T20I performance is not the worst in history. However, the comparison between his white-ball and red-ball records is like “chalk and cheese”. This is surprising to cricket fans as people think of Test as the toughest match format due to its length. People believe that he should be able to perform as well in the limited-overs format.
India will likely choose Pant in its Test squad because he is their most valuable wicketkeeper. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for T20I because Pant faces strong contenders such as KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, and Sanju Samson. It would be difficult for him to join the national team for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia with his current stats.
Pant's future career
People have observed a similar pattern of Pant’s performance in the past white-ball series. The Delhi Capitals skipper often wasted his wicket when things seemed to pick up for him and his team. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to come up with a plan to counter this since he keeps repeating it.
Critics said that Pant doesn’t need serious corrections to counteract his issues, given that he has a fresh mindset and free-stroking approach in his game. However, he needs to choose the best approach for himself.
Sanjay Bangar, a former batting coach, suggested that the player should get the chance to open innings for his team. This strategy had been a success for two players in the past, India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Australia’s Adam Gilchrist.
For now, the best way for Pant is to strategise closely with Rahul Dravid, who is now the head coach, and Vikram Rathour, the batting coach. Fans expect to see the 1997-born player showcasing a better performance.