Yesterday, India pulled a rabbit out of the hat against South Africa with an impressive 82 runs victory.
The series now stands at 2-2.
The main architects of the victory were Avesh Khan with a superb 4 wicket haul, Hardik Pandya and the ageless Dinesh Karthik.
Karthik scored 55 off just 27 balls and Pandya contributed 46 off 31.
And if there is one player whose contribution to the win was minimal, it is none other than the captain Rishabh Pant.
Pant scored 17 off 23 balls at a strike rate of 73.
He has not had the best of form in the three matches that have taken place so far either.
After scoring 29 runs off just 16 runs in the first match, Pant has just had scores of 5 and 6 in the second and third T20Is respectively.
To put it bluntly, Pant has been underperforming through out the series.
Had be not been captain, Pant would have got the axe.
This run of poor T20 form has continued through out the IPL and it’s surely time to ask the tough question – Does Pant deserve to be in the side?
is he being favoured despite his poor form?
Jaffer questions Pant’s inclusion
The former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer has made a bold statement on Rishabh Pant’s position in the T20I side, stating that the Delhi Capitals captain’s position is not a certainty.
Jaffer is concerned with Pant’s form because he believes that the 24-year-old has not scored as many runs in the shortest format, and with the likes of KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik available, they do have replacement wicket-keepers.
“Team India need to sort out their middle-order as Rishabh Pant’s lack of runs is a serious concern.”
“Pant’s absence of runs is the missing component of India’s batting.”
“He is a crucial member of this group. He needs to recognise that bowling attack will try to bowl away from his eye-line and he needs to work on this.”
Lots of competition
Pant has played 45 T20 internationals at an average below 24 and a strike rate of just 126.67.
This is certainly below par.
India has far better options for the ‘wicket-keeper who can bat’ options.
KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson can all fill in for that role.
Each of the above players has been more consistent than Pant.
Even if Pant wants to play as a pure batter, he has to contend with tough competition.
Rahul Tewatia was brilliant for the Gujarat Titans and is waiting for his chance.
Rahul Tripathi, who has been selected for the Ireland tour and Deepak Hooda have both been excellent in the IPL and deserve a look in.
There are young talents like Ayush Badoni and Yashasvi Jaiswal who have put in strong performances.
So, it’s only a matter of time before Pant is dropped.
Unless, he starts performing and living up to his talent.