The 24-year-old left-hander has been having a torrid time with the bat of late. He scored 340 runs in 14 matches for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the IPL with a best of 44.
Appointed stand-in captain for the five-match T20I series against South Africa at home, the southpaw continued to struggle for fluency, finishing the series with a highest score of 29.
The South Africans targeted him with wide deliveries outside off stump and the Delhi batsman kept getting dismissed trying to go after them. During a discussion on Cricbuzz, Patel opined on the left-hander’s similar mode of dismissals:
“The disappointing aspect is that there is a clear pattern to Pant’s dismissals, but he has not been able to counter it. And this has been going on for the last 2 to 2.5 months. Pant has been made (stand-in) captain because he has that smartness. But the coaching staff has an important role here. They need to help him out.”
While he has an impressive record in Test matches and has played a few good knocks in ODIs, his numbers in T20Is are mediocre. In 48 games, he has scored 741 runs, averaging 23.15 with a strike rate of 123.91.
“Too early to decide whether or not Pant can make it to the T20 World Cup” – Ashish Nehra
In the wake of the dashing batter’s struggles in the 20-over format, some critics have opined that he is not a certainty for the T20 World Cup in Australia. Asked for his views on the debate, former India pacer Ashish Nehra replied:
“It is too early to decide whether or not Pant can make it to the T20 World Cup. Be it Pant or any other player, no one is a certainty yet. Anybody can get injured as well. They have to play quite a few T20Is and there is the Asia Cup as well. So, there is a lot of T20 cricket to be played.”
Nehra added that the picture will be clearer when there are only a couple of series left before the ICC event. Chipping in on the raging debate over who should be India’s wicketkeeper in the T20 World Cup, he said:
“At that time (of picking the T20 World Cup squad), if Dinesh Karthik is still doing well and Pant is still struggling, then India could take a call on choosing Karthik as the keeper-batter. But it could be the other way round as well because you never know what happens in this game. At the same time, it cannot be denied that Karthik’s form is a big plus for India.”
While the Delhi Capitals captain failed to make an impact against South Africa, Karthik impressed on his international comeback after three years. He scored 30* off 21 in the second T20I and was Player of the Match for his 27-ball 55 in the fourth T20I.