Patience may be running out for fans and pundits alike as far as Rishabh Pant is concerned. The India wicket-keeper, who was the main stumper in the lead up to Asia Cup 2022, saw his stocks take a tumble as he warmed the bench throughout a big tournament like the T20 World Cup. He was then given a chance in the last league stage match against Zimbabwe and the big semi-final against England where his performance was disappointing to say the least.
Now former India cricketer Reetinder Singh Sodhi has come out against the 25-year old. In a strong-worded statement, he had asked for his immediate ouster, saying there is a limit to everything. Pant has been one of India’s rising stars and the management is looking to groom him as the all weather wicket-keeper for India.
Speaking to India News ahead of India’s One Day International (ODI) series opener against New Zealand, Sodhi backed Sanju Samson to replace Pant in the Indian white-ball lineup. “He is becoming a liability for Team India. If it’s like this, then bring in Sanju Samson. End of the day, you got to take that chance because you cannot afford to lose and exit in World Cup or ICC tournaments. When you give too many chances, problems arise. The time has come to provide opportunities to new guys," Sodhi said.
“Only time will tell how many opportunities and how long he gets. Time is passing and he really has to tighten his shoes. Everything has a limit. You cannot depend on one player for so long. If he is not performing, you got to show him the exit door,” he added. Pant has played 27 ODIs and 66 T20Is for India while power-hitter Samson has featured in only 26 international white-ball matches for the former world champions.
While Pant was promoted at the top for the three-match T20I series, the likes of Sanju Samson never got a chance in the playing eleven. Meanwhile, Pant’s scores remained mediocre. He scored 6 off 13 balls in the second match and then was out for 11 off 5 balls in the final match while the series opener was washed out. The future of Pant hinges on his own performance as he is considered to be the ‘main’ wicket-keeper going forward. Unlike 2022, where he took a break from 50-over cricket, he will have to take part in all ODI games starting tomorrow against New Zealand. It has to be seen how team management fits Samson and Pant together in the eleven.