At times, Rishabh Pant has confounded the Indian team with his brazen batting style but skipper Rohit Sharma on Monday said they are willing to accept the way he bats for his sheer ability to change a game in matter of minutes.
Rohit also underlined the point that Pant has been asked to respect the conditions and match situation and that the stumper-batter has got better with his game plans.
The stocky southpaw with his impactful batting in both the innings, titled the second Test against Sri Lanka in India’s favour.
His quick-fire 39 in first innings and record-breaking fifty in second innings was crucial in putting the Lankan attack to submission.
He was declared Man-of-the-series.
“We know how he bats and as a team we just want to give him that freedom to bat in the way that he wants to bat. But also keeping in mind certain situations of the game, where the game is going, we have conveyed that to him but we want to stick with his gameplan as a team,” Rohit said at the post-match press conference.
“It just seems to get better and get better, his game-plans. There will be times when you will smash your head and say ‘why did he play that shot’ but again we need to be ready to accept that with him when he bats.”
Rohit said the fact that his impact on a game is instant, they are willing to let him bat he wants to.
“He is somebody who can change the game literally in half an hour or 40 minute of the game. I think what comes with Rishabh Pant, we are ready to accept that,” he said.
Pant’s Keeping and input for DRS call
Praising his improved skills behind the wicket, Rohit said the most significant factor of his in this series was his keeping.
“His keeping was best that I have seen. He kept well when England came last year and he seems to get better every time he keeps wickets for India, so that is something that I have been very impressed with.
“And also the DRS calls, (he) seems to be making the right calls. DRS we all know, it’s like a lottery. There are certain aspects of the game that I have told him to look into and that’s about it.
DRS calls are not something you will always get it right, there will be times when you will be making wrong calls, but that’s absolutely okay.”
On his own Test captaincy
Rohit said since he has’t captained much in red ball it was a big thing for him to lead in Tests.
It was his first series after Virat Kohli quit leadership role.
“There are a few senior members in the team who understand the game well and had their inputs as well. I have my reading of the game as well.
But eventually you work on instinct and my captaincy philosophy is to take a call on that point which seems right to you, keeping in mind of where the game is going.
I try to analyse these things on the ground,” he said.
Jasprit Bumrah performance
Bumrah troubled the Lankan batters even on a dry pitch that was tailor made for spinners. He took five wickets in the first innings and three in the second essay.
Rohit said the pacer’s performance was magnificent without a doubt.
“To come out and bowl like that in these kind of conditions shows how much skill and ability he has. Someone like Bumrah, he’s never out of the game whatever the conditions are,” said the captain.
“To bowl on certain pitches, you need certain skill-sets. And he seems to bringing those skill-sets into the game depending on what sort of assistance he has from the pitch.
“In Mohali we saw a different sort of pitch and he was still effective. This was a different kind of pitch. It was turning and bouncing and everything was happening for spinners.”
Not many homes games for Bumrah
Bumrah has largely played abroad in Test format and Rohit said it was imperative to keep the bowlers fresh and ready.
“Keeping everything in mind, the workload, we have to rotate these guys. They continuously play and we’ve to take care of them. So he’s missed a lot of games.”
“In coming years, you’ll see a lot of Bumrah playing Tests in India and abroad as well. But as I said, we need to look after these guys really well, make sure they are fresh so that they come out and perform the way these guys have done here. We want to keep them fresh all the time. That’s the challenge for us.”
Team India’s long term target
Rohit said thei long-term target is to reach the finals of the WTC.
“But, honestly we cannot look that far ahead as it does not work like that. We need to look into the present, make sure that there are few steps to climb to reach to that place. For us, reaching those small goals are very important.
“Having lost the series in SA, it was critical for us to make an impact and get those crucial points for us.
“We were missing two of our experienced batters (Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane) but Hanuma Vihari batting at a new position was a challenge.
“And Iyer batting at six was going to be another challenge, but he showed a lot of maturity in the way he played on those challenging wickets. We pretty much achieved everything that we wanted as a team, boxes got ticked.”
– Reported by PTI