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Kohli and Shastri should speak to Pant: Gautam Gambhir

by Saurabh Sharma Sep 26, 2019 • 17:26 PM

New Delhi, Sep 26:  Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels it would be wrong to mount pressure on young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and the team management should back him.

Pant has been inducted in all the three formats of the game for Team India. While the 21-year-old has performed well in Tests, he has been found struggling in the limited-overs format and has been criticised for his poor shot selection and careless approach.

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Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, Gambhir said: "I feel if you focus solely on a young player, who has been in the international arena for just around a year, he will feel the pressure. In such a short time, he (Pant) has smashed two Test tons. If you don't find his shot selections ideal, it is his style of play. If you give him a chance in the team then kindly back him and it is wrong to criticise him so early.

"Not only (Virat) Kohli but also coach Ravi Shastri should talk to Pant. It is the duty of the team management to personally talk to the player who is not in form or if he is not perfect with his shot selection as it would help him improve and regain his touch. There is a need to give him freedom," he added.

Meanwhile, a lot of talks have been going on about former skipper M.S. Dhoni, who has been absent from India's limited overs side since this year World Cup. Commenting on Dhoni, Gambhir said: "I have always said that the decision to retire is anyone's personal call. I feel the selectors should talk to Dhoni and ask him about his plans because if you play for India, you cannot select the series you want to play."

Gambhir also spoke on the issues regarding conflict of interests in the BCCI as former captain Rahul Dravid was also recently found guilty of it.

"It is a tough question. Nothing could be better for the country and the youngsters if Dravid is the NCA coach," he opined.

Recently, former India pacer Chetan Sharma had said that Kohli should rest Jasprit Bumrah in home series in order to fully utilise his expertise in the foreign wickets. However, differing with the views of Sharma, Gambhir said: "If someone is good at anything, he should play in every condition. It is not that you pick him only for foreign tours as it is not the right way of playing international cricket."

Bumrah however, will miss the three-match home series against South Africa due to injury and Gambhir felt the team will miss his experience.

"He is the number one bowler in Test cricket. Surely, the team will miss him. Bumrah is undoubtedly a great challenge for any team in any format of the game and his absence will affect the side," he expressed.

Gambhir also said Rohit Sharma, who has been included in the Test team as an opener, should be given a chance in the playing XI. "Rohit slammed five centuries in the World Cup and so, his inclusion in the team is not a surprise. If you have drafted him in the team then you should include him in the playing XI as well as he is a great batsman and I think he is ready for the challenge," Gambhir concluded.