Ahead of the start of the home limited-overs series against West Indies with the first T20I match scheduled to take place later in the day, Indian captain Virat Kohli was quizzed about a lot of things in the pre-match press conference. However, the centerpoint of the discussion was wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant. There has been a constant thing going on currently in the stadiums as whenever Pant misses a chance, the crowd erupts in chanting MS Dhoni’s name and Virat does not like the same.
"We certainly believe in Rishabh's ability. When you say it's the player's responsibility to work hard, perform and do all those things, I agree. But I think it's the collective responsibility of everyone around as well to give that player some space to do so as well,” mentioned Virat Kohli.
"If he misses a chance or something, people can't shout MS in the stadium. It's not respectful, if I have to put it that way. No player would like that to happen. If you're playing in your own country, you should get support rather than always thinking what mistake is this guy going to make. No one wants to be in that position," he added.
Rishabh Pant is a match-winner: Virat Kohli
Pant’s shot making and recent failures have been a big concern for the Indian team management. In this year, Pant has scored just a single fifty-plus score in the limited-overs formats composing 201 runs from 13 games at a poor average of 20.10 in T20Is. In 9 ODIs, Pant has scored 188 runs at an average of 23.50, whereas in IPL 2019, the left-hander averaged 36.17 along with a strike-rate of 162.7. This poor form also forced the team management to drop him from the Test playing XI with Wriddhiman Saha replacing him.
"We know he's a match winner and once he comes good you will see a different version of him - which you've seen in the IPL already because he's free, he's relaxed there, he feels that there's a lot more respect when it comes to his ability and what he can achieve for the team. I think he needs to feel that a bit more around him. He can't be isolated to an extent that he gets nervous on the field. If you want him to do well and win matches for the team, all of us collectively need to make him feel like he belongs, and we're here to do things for him rather than against him," the Indian captain noted.