Former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody believes Delhi Capitals' (DC) wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant wasn't in best of shape when he arrived in UAE for this year's IPL and that has certainly "derailed" the usually explosive middle-order batsman throughout the season.
Pant, Moody stressed, has been playing at substandard fitness levels. The left-hander has made 274 runs in 10 games at an average of 30.44 but a strike-rate of only 112.29. And while an extended period away from cricket amid the COVID-19 pandemic affected a lot of the Indian players, Moody feels, in this day and age, it's "no excuse" to not look after your fitness.
“I think one of the things that have derailed Pant to this point is because of how he arrived at the IPL. From my understanding, his condition was not in a place it needed to be in," said the ex head coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on ESPNcricinfo.
"I respect the fact that everyone has been in lockdown and there have been challenges around that, but to me, there is no excuse. Absolutely, no excuse. We are not playing in the 80s or the 70s."
Moody said Pant doesn't have to look far for inspiration in this regard from his India captain, Virat Kohli, who is a role model for many aspiring young cricketers.
"The Indian team has arguably the best of the role models when it comes to preparations and welfare in their captain in Virat Kohli. So, there is absolutely no excuse."
“So, that derailed Pant not only physically but also mentally. And then he got injured. Surprise, surprise. I wonder why he got injured. Because his condition was nowhere near where it needed to be."
"You need to help the player regain his focus and understanding. Understand and accept the mistakes, and put it behind and move forward in a positive direction," he added.