Rishabh Pant is mighty impressive with his batting already at the Test level but he will become an integral part of the side, if the youngster can get better on his glovework behind the stumps, thinks former India wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani.
Pant, who followed his magnificent ton at the Oval in England with a blistering knock of 92 at Rajkot against the West Indies, has shown his immense potential with the bat but the same can't be said about the quality of his keeping skills, yet. Rishabh is far from a finished product with the gloves and definitely needs to work really hard over it.
Having watched him go about his business so far at the highest level, Kirmani spoke about Pant to Indian Express and said, “Pant’s gung-ho approach to batting is quite refreshing to watch. He should not change the way he plays the game. That may lead to trouble. What he should, however, look at is conversion. The classic example today was Virat Kohli at the other end. When he got set, he ensured he reached a century. You should not miss out after doing all the hard work,”
Showering a huge compliment on the young man, Kirmani added, “He reminds me of MS Dhoni when I first heard of him. He was a terrific hitter of the ball but not that technically adept behind the stumps. He worked on his shortcomings and look where that took him."
"Pant has age on his side but first and foremost, he should look to keep getting runs. That is the only way to make yourself undroppable," he reiterated and further stressed, “Pant’s footwork behind the stumps is not good. He does not move with the ball, instead dives at the last moment. These will take time. My main point is, look at the young keepers in the country. How will they learn? You have specific coaches for each and every position except for such a specialist role.”
Kirmani, who played in an era when attaining excellence over glovework was the first priority for the wicketkeepers to have a chance to climb up the ladder, is quite worried about the current trend, where the teams are picking their men behind the stumps more for the batting ability they posess.
“There are quite a few young talents but most are batsmen first," Kirmani said, "The experienced ones like MSD, DK (Karthik) and Parthiv (Patel) have improved their keeping with time," before signing off with, "Hopefully, the younger lot can learn from them and improve behind the stumps.”