World Cup: Team India sweating over Rishabh Pant’s fielding

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Leeds: His exclusion from the team for the World Cup had become an issue that was debated on national television. But ever since joining the squad as replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant has cut a sorry figure on the field. Not only have the likes of skipper Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni had to hide him in the field, but fielding coach R. Sridhar making special mention of Pant saving five runs in the England game shows the effort that the player needs to put in on his fielding.

“A lot of work has to go into him, first of all he needs to improve his technique in throwing and he also needs to get in mind to be an outfielder. But what we have now, we’ll have to use him in the appropriate positions. That is why Virat and MS are always keen to keep him in the right place at the right time and get the best out him. Last game he saved five runs which is a huge bonus, and he took a catch as well,” the fielding coach said after the Bangladesh game.

In fact, he was seen being moved quite often as Pant was unable to mark the long boundary and was kept inside the ring mostly. He also failed to attempt a catch in the deep which didn’t go down too well with the captain.

Also, the standards that someone like a Dinesh Karthik sets makes Pant’s job all the more harder as the benchmark is pretty high. In fact, Dhoni himself is a pretty good fielder.

“Obviously, Dinesh actually being a wicketkeeper is quite a reasonably good fielder too. You see he pulls off some good saves at backward point. That’s a big plus for us. Rishabh is somebody who is developing into a fielder, he needs to do this a little more to get the awareness, to get a hang of it,” he pointed.

Considering the standards that Kohli himself sets on the field, Pant’s inability to cover ground in the outfield as a fielder could actually have been one of the reasons why he wasn’t part of the initial squad because the fact that Dhoni would be the first-choice keeper was no secret.

By Baidurjo Bhose