The three-match T20 international series will be a litmus test for Rishabh Pant for his survival in Team India. He cannot afford a failure in the three-match T20 international series. The Delhi youngster has emerged as the first choice for the wicketkeeper-batsman’s position in the team ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Pant has also left India’s most successful wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni behind to complete 50 dismissals behind the stumps in Test cricket. But that is not enough to guarantee the southpaw a place in the Indian dressing room when the team for the One Day Internationals for the three-match series against the visiting Proteas will be announced.
Another youngster is pressing hard to snatch the Team India wicketkeeper’s position from Pant, who has left a lot to be desired on either side of the timber on India’s just-concluded tour of the West Indies even as India has won all the completed matches on the month-long tour. Except for a 65 in the third T20 International, Pant has failed to justify the potential of a batsman who has scored impressive centuries in England and Australia.
Poor shot selection and irresponsible approach have been his nemesis, leading to the critics gunning for the 21-year-old who not very long ago was hailed as the country’s most promising wicketkeeper-batsman.
If he fails to deliver in the three T20 Internationals against South Africa, the selectors may well look at another young wicketkeeper-batsman who will be out in the middle during the ongoing Duleep Trophy final to impress the five who matters the most to determine a player’s position in Team India.
If Pant fails to deliver in time the race to the T20 World Cup in Australia next year can become a tough task for him.
The selector will be closely monitoring the performance of another 21-year-old Ishan Kishan in the Duleep Trophy final, where the Patna boy is representing India Red. The Jharkhand wicketkeeper has been impressive while playing for India A against South Africa A.
Though the national selectors as of now have only hinted at managing the load of Pant, but Ishan Kishan is already on the path to challenge the former with his batting and wicketkeeping skills.
After all, Ishan has found a place in the list of the wicketkeepers whom selectors have been scrutinising minutely for the national duty.