“Everyone believes that he is a special player” – Aakash Chopra on whether Rishabh Pant should be given more opportunities

Aakash Chopra has said that although everyone believes that Rishabh Pant is a special player, the selectors might have to start looking elsewhere if the wicketkeeper-batter doesn’t deliver in the next few ODIs.

Pant managed just 15 runs off 23 deliveries in the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday, November 25. India set a decent 307-run target for the Kiwis but lost the match by seven wickets.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra was asked whether Pant should be given more opportunities or if Sanju Samson should be kept in the team instead. He responded:

“As of now everyone believes that he (Pant) is a special player, extremely talented, is an X-factor kind of cricketer, but he hasn’t lived up to the reputation in white-ball cricket thus far.”


The former Indian batter highlighted that Pant’s performances in white-ball cricket have not been commensurate with the impact he has had in Tests, elaborating:

“In Tests, today also Rishabh Pant is not only India’s but the world’s best wicketkeeper-batter. Not many top-order batters have played more dynamic and impactful knocks than him, forget about a keeper. But the truth is that he has not done that good a job in ODIs and T20s considering the opportunities he has got.”

Pant has dished out underwhelming performances in T20I cricket but has a decent record in ODIs. The southpaw averages 35.62 in 50-over cricket and scored a match-winning century against England earlier this year.

“You will give him two more opportunities” – Aakash Chopra on Rishabh Pant being the vice-captain

Rishabh Pant is Shikhar Dhawan's deputy for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand.
Rishabh Pant is Shikhar Dhawan’s deputy for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand.

Chopra feels Pant will play the remaining two T20Is against the Black Caps considering he is the vice-captain for the tour. He said:

“You have made him the vice-captain currently. Now that you have done that, you will give him two more opportunities in the team. You will ask him to play but what after that? That is a big question.”

However, the reputed commentator reckons the selectors might start looking beyond the dashing wicketkeeper-batter if he doesn’t deliver in the two ODIs against New Zealand and the subsequent series against Bangladesh, stating:

“God forbid, if this series is also not good, Rishabh Pant is still part of the team for the next series, but after that the selectors will have to start thinking until when they can stick with him or if they should start moving in a different direction.”

The likes of Samson and Ishan Kishan will likely be in the selectors’ scheme of things for the wicketkeeper-batter’s position if Pant fails to fire. They could also look at KL Rahul as another option if Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are likely to be India’s two openers and if they want to accommodate the Karnataka batter in the middle order.

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Edited by Sai Krishna

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