Should Rishabh Pant be given a break from the Test team? Photograph:( AFP )
Former India all-rounder Madan Lal wants the Indian team management to rest Rishabh Pant and give Wriddhiman Saha a chance in the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
Rishabh Pant has been criticised by many for 'throwing his wicket away' in India's second innings of the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. Pant was dismissed for a duck in the second innings as India lost the Test match by seven wickets after setting up a target of 240 runs for the hosts in their second innings.
Pant had walked into bat at no.6 after the quick departures of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara with India at 163/4. Pant was expected to steady the ship for the visitors and build a partnership with Hanuma Vihari, who was out in the middle. However, the left-handed ended up getting caught by Kyle Verreynne on the third delivery he faced.
Pant tried to step out and smash Rabada but ended up edging one to the South African wicket-keeper, who made no mistakes with the catch. His approach left many baffled, including former India all-rounder and 1983 World Cup-winner Madan Lal, who believes the young wicket-keeper should be rested.
Pant has been playing continuous cricket for India since the IPL 2020 and has been a regular across formats for the team. Lal wants India to give him a break and give senior keeper Wriddhiman Saha a chance in the series-deciding third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
“He should be given a break. And you have someone like Wriddhiman Saha. He is a sensible batsman. He is a very good wicketkeeper. But Pant has to decide how he wants to bat in Test cricket. If there is some doubt in his mind, it is better to give him a break," Lal said during an interaction on Aaj Tak.
"He is a match-winning player, but you cannot bat like this. You have to bat for the team and not for yourself,” the former all-rounder added.
Pant, who has been one of the best performers for India in Test cricket over the last couple of years, has struggled for consistency in the South Africa series so far. He will be hoping to bounce back strongly when the two teams lock horns in the third and final Test of the three-match series starting from January 11.