Kona Kona Cricket Articles

10th November 2020

Rishabh Pant, the domestic giant goes missing

In the three seasons prior to this in the Indian T20 League, Rishabh Pant was the highest run-scorer in the league with 1538 runs at an average of 38.45 and a strike-rate of 168.09. The strike-rate is more than that of AB de Villiers, Jos Buttler and Hardik Pandya and the average itself is better than Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and his competitor for the Indian T20 keeper slot, Sanju Samson.

Yet, all Pant copped in these three years was loads of criticism for the manner in which he batted - flashy, carefree and risky - and a lot of times his dismissals were hard to digest for fans. His temperament came under constant scrutiny too with the Indian management themselves unhappy with some of his rash decision-making in the middle.

The 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League has, however, seen a completely different Pant in action, one more subdued and apparently mindful of the value of his wicket.

However, the returns have been in complete contrast to what it has been in previous years. After 13 matches for Delhi this season, Pant has 287 runs at an average of 28.7 and a strike-rate of 109.12.

The most befuddling aspect of his returns is the scoring rate. Known for his aggressive approach and carefree attitude in the middle, Pant has been a match-winner for Delhi in the past few seasons, but a switch to a more responsible way of batting is clearly curbing his attacking game and barely reaping any returns.

Pant's attacking game is crucial to the make-up of Delhi's batting line-up too. While Shikhar Dhawan goes all guns blazing at the top, Delhi lack a power hitter in the middle-order. Shreyas Iyer goes after the spinners but is pretty restricted against pace bowlers, especially when there's pace and bounce.

Pant is a dynamic player against both pace and spin and his raw, brute power has more often than not compensated for his wild slogs across the line. While often dubbed as an irresponsible batsman, his consistent returns in this format - as evident from the stats from before this season - suggest that his approach works.

The issue with most attacking batsmen in the mould of Pant is that they aren't quite sure how to tone down and more often than not make a mess of things when they try to do so. That's exactly what has happened with Pant who seems to be under pressure to show more responsibility, even at the cost of scoring less quicker. But the approach is clearly proving to be his undoing and the quicker he and the management realise it, the better it will be.

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Disclaimer: This editorial content has been sourced from HoldingWilley