Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has said that although Rishabh Pant is a very fine batsman, he still has a lot of work to do on his wicket-keeping skills at the Test level.
While 19-year-old Pant scored a brilliant hundred at The Oval in the last innings of the fifth Test, he looked quite shoddy with his wicketkeeping against the swing and seam movement which most glovemen have to encounter in England.
Not only that, Pant, who looked decent behind the stumps on his debut at Trent Bridge, was substantially found out with his technique and basics as a wicketkeeper during rest of the series.
Prasad, who watched the series closely, talked about Pant recently and said, "I am really happy the way Rishab batted in the last Test in England. In fact we never had any doubts about his batting skills. My only concern is about his wicket-keeping,"
"Now that he (Pant) has the experience of three Test matches under his belt, he would have understood the areas that he needs to work on." Prasad further pointed out and revealed, "We are also trying to put him under a wicketkeeping specialist coach for some time. Along with Rishab, we have identified a few more upcoming wicket-keepers who need to be trained under a specialist coach. I expect Rishabh to serve Indian cricket for a long time,"
One of Prasad's other major concerns is the performance of Indian openers in England and though he accepts that the conditions were really tough during the five-match Test series, he cleared that there is a genuine need to take action to resurrect the issue surrounding the most important batting slot overseas.
"Yes, it is definitely a cause of concern." Prasad admitted, "If you look at it whenever we have got that good start we went on to win the Test match. Having said that openers of both the teams struggled in this series due to tough conditions,"
But being pragmatically aware of the challenge that openers came across there, he added, "After playing 160 Tests, a player of Alastair Cook’s caliber has failed throughout the series except the last Test. In his interview, Cook openly said that this was one of the toughest conditions he played in his entire career. So we should be a bit more considerate about our players,"
In conclusion, Prasad also talked about all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who clearly has raw skills in either department but is just not consistent enough in both of them.
He said, "Hardik Pandya is an all rounder in the making. He scored a century against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. He batted well against South Africa in the Cape Town Test and performed well both with bat and ball against England in Nottingham." and reiterated, "This clearly shows that he can perform in all conditions."
"Only thing we expect from him is more consistency with both bat & ball." he then cleared, "I am sure this tour would have been a big learning experience in his career. He will be a better player with the experience he has gained from this tour," and signed off.
(Inputs from PTI)