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“Rishabh Pant should be backed” – Sanjay Bangar and Ashish Nehra vouch for Pant as Team India’s wicket-keeper batsman

Rishabh Pant is a name that has garnered immense attention from the cricket fraternity from the time he stepped into the domestic arena. The Delhi-lad racked a ton of numbers, then advanced into the mega T20 tournament – Indian Premier League (IPL) – where he is rated as one the most destructive wicket-keeper batsmen. 

In 59 innings, Pant has amassed over 1900 runs, averages 36.67, and enjoys a strike rate of 160.25. Not to mention, he had been successful in affecting 51 dismissals with his keeping prowess.  

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Even in the ongoing edition of IPL underway in UAE, the Delhi cricketer has managed to rake in impressive numbers with the bat, with scores of – 31(29), 37*(25), 28(27), 38(17), and 37(25) in the last outing. 

Although it’s evident that Pant is a prolific run-getter, he has been criticized on a number of occasions for his shot selections and for the works behind the stumps. 

Moreover, his comparisons with Indian legend MS Dhoni keeps on increasing with each passing day. Though he is yet to establish a stronghold in the national side, with age in his favor, he has plenty of time to prove his mettle in the Indian jersey.  

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With Dhoni announcing retirement in August this year, all eyes would be on Pant, who has been hailed by many cricket pundits as the prominent figure in Indian cricket in the years to come, a successor to MSD.

Rishabh Pant should be backed: Ashish Nehra

Talking about Pant’s exploits as a wicket-keeper batsman, former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels the left-handed cricketer would be a vital cog for the Men in Blue.

“In terms of wicket-keeping, I think it would be Rishabh Pant. I think the way he started this year’s IPL and I think it is very important to have a left-hander as an option because Team India when it comes to the middle-order, it helps to balance out the right-handers,” said Bangar on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.

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Even former India pacer turned commentator Ashish Nehra agreed to Bangar’s opinions for Rishabh Pant in Team India’s playing XI. He added that the 23-year-old is the best wicket-keeper in the longer format, and Pant to be backed at all costs.

It totally depends on which format we are talking about. If we are talking about Test cricket, and if you want to go with the best wicket-keeper, then you also have to consider the mindset of the captain and coach. I am in total agreement with Sanjay Bangar. I think they should go ahead with Rishabh Pant. Pant should be backed. Every player needs to be backed when it comes to international cricket,” said Nehra.

Rishabh Pant has been a part of the Indian side since 2017. The southpaw has aggregated over 1500 runs in the international arena, playing 13 Tests, 16 ODIs, and 28 T20Is. Behind the stumps, he has managed to affect 81 dismissals. He last donned the national jersey way back in February earlier this year. 

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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