Gautam Gambhir believes Rishabh Pant’s opportunity in white-ball cricket, for the time being, has come and gone and is of the opinion that the 25-year-old wicket-keeper batter should turn his focus exclusively to red-ball cricket, where he’s had enormous success and is considered among the best in the world.
Pant, who made his international debut in 2017, has featured in 96 white-ball internationals for India but has never been able to stamp his authority. Particularly in T20Is, where he averages 22.43 in 56 innings. The left-hander was recently left out of both the ODI and T20I squads to face Sri Lanka although it remains unclear whether he was dropped or rested.
Gambhir believes it’s time the management gave a fair run to someone like an Ishan Kishan, and feels he does not see Pant being the number one gloveman in limited-overs internationals in the near future.
"Rishabh had got his opportunities in white-ball cricket and hasn't been able to grab it, and someone else like Ishan Kishan has been able to grab it. So probably now he should just focus on red-ball cricket, and if his turn comes, whenever he gets that opportunity, try and grab it,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
"I don't see that happening in the near future, if Ishan continues to play the way he's playing. Because we keep talking about that template, but people like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav - that template comes to them naturally.”
Gambhir further stated that Pant cannot ‘blame or complain’ should the management move on from him in white-ball cricket since he’s been provided with tons of chances to succeed. With the white-ball train having departed, the former Indian batter advised Pant to shift his focus fully to red-ball cricket, where he is the sixth-ranked batter in the world.
"Everyone wants to see Indian cricket more courageous and fearless. These guys can play in a natural way. Rishabh has got that opportunity, so he can't blame or complain. He's got the opportunity to open, bat at 3-4-5-6, the management has given him every opportunity to succeed in white-ball cricket, but he hasn't been able to.
“I think he can concentrate on red-ball cricket, which is not bad for Rishabh because at least his entire focus is on his keeping and how he can bat at No. 5 or 6 in Test cricket."