Stage is all set to fire as India prepares to take on World T20 Champions West Indies at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad tomorrow. In a press conference on the eve of the match Indian Skipper Virat Kohli hinted that Rishabh Pant could retain his place in the eleven, throwing his weight behind the talented left-hander.
Earlier, Indian limited over vice-captain Rohit Sharma also backed the youngster and advised the media and people to leave him alone.
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Pant, a dashing Wicket-keeper batsman, was touted as India’s all format WK-batsman not so long ago after he hit centuries in England and Australia in the longest version of the game. But, recent sharp dip in the form and some questionable shot selections at crucial stages of the games have gathered criticism the world over.
Even Indian coach Ravi Shastri criticised his shot selection as ‘Disappointing’ after his lofted shot against Febian Allen in a ODI match at Port of Spain during India’s tour of WI. Selector Vikram Rathod also advised Pant to be ‘Fearless than Careless’.
But, recently, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and VVS Laxman supported the talented cricketer and urged the people to make him feel home and not to put unnecessary pressure on the youngster instead help him find his own way to succeed at the Highest Level.
Virat Kohli said, “We certainly believe in Rishabh’s ability. When you say it’s the player’s responsibility to work hard, perform and do all those things, I agree. But I think it’s the collective responsibility of everyone around as well to give that player some space to do so as well.”
“If he misses a chance or something, people can’t shout MS in the stadium. It’s not respectful, if I have to put it that way. No player would like that to happen. If you’re playing in your own country, you should get support rather than always thinking what mistake is this guy going to make. No one wants to be in that position.”
Virat Kohli also requested the fans to not compare Rishabh to MS and that he will do wonders once he feels home like he feels while playing for Delhi Capital in IPL. Virat also rejected the idea of promoting Pant up the order saying India’s top-four are almost set and they don’t need to change their batting order.
In press Conference, as it appeared Sanju Samson, Kerala Wicket Keeper Batsman, could miss out in the playing eleven. FYI, Sanju Samson was notincluded in the original squad, he was selected in the team after Opener ShikharDhawan had an injury.
The match will start at 7PM tomorrow.
Possible playing XI of team India for 1st T20I against West Indies
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Yuzi Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.