Rishabh Pant is ruing his irresponsible shot and will grow into a mature batsman with time, says India skipper Virat Kohli after his team’s heartbreaking defeat in the all-important World Cup 2019 semi-final against New Zealand at Old Trafford on Wednesday (July 10).
After India’s top-order collapse to 24/4, Pant did all the hard work to steady the innings but the southpaw threw his wicket on 32 while attacking left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.
"He's still young. I made many errors when I was young in my career and he will learn. He will look back and think yes, he could have chosen a different option in that situation and he realises that already," Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
In fact, the Indian captain pointed out the positive aspect that how Rishabh rebuilt the innings with Hardik Pandya.
"He (Pant) is an instinctive player and did well to overcome that situation and stringing a partnership with Hardik (Pandya). I think the way they played after the loss of three wickets, four wickets rather, was quite commendable. I am sure he will reflect on it and he will come out stronger," he added.
Virat was seen having an animated chat with head coach Ravi Shastri immediately after Pant holed out in the deep. However, he said it's the player who suffers the most after committing a mistake.
"So all these guys have a lot of pride and passion to play for their country and they are the ones who feel the most disappointed when a mistake happens. From the outside it looks like it was an error but the person who makes it, trust me, they are the ones who suffer the most with it."
For Kohli, Pant is one for the future with the kind of talent he boasts.
"The talent is there for everyone to see and the character is there, but, as I said, yes, a few shots (refers to Hardik Pandya), not just Rishabh's. But that happens in sport. You make errors, you make decisions which are not right at that time and you have to accept it."
The Indian captain was full of praise for Ravindra Jadeja, who put up a lion-hearted effort with the bat to keep India in the contest. Jadeja scored 77 off 59 balls when India were reeling at 92/6 while chasing Black Caps’ target of 240.
"I don't think we had to say anything to Jadeja after what happened over the last one week. He was quite ready to just get on to the park, to be honest (smiles)," Kohli said with obvious reference to Sanjay Manjrejar's ‘bits and pieces' cricketer remark.
"I'm really happy for him because he's been a very understated but a top quality cricketer for India on the field, with the ball, with the bat, priceless, so he's had a great game today."
He is certainly sad that one bad day in the knock-outs ended a good campaign and wouldn't mind if ICC revisits the format.
"I think we are sad but we are not devastated because of the kind of cricket that we played in this tournament. We know where we stood as a team and today we were not good enough (today) and that is the nature of this tournament. A bad day in the knockout stage you are out of the tournament. May be, we could have a re-look at the format where a team that has been consistent doesn't get knocked out for having one bad day," he lamented.
(With PTI inputs)