Former India pacer Ashish Nehra feels that the selectors should be more patient with Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. The 22-year-old who went through a rough patch last year failed to make a mark with both the bat and his glovework and was replaced by KL Rahul in India’s previous two limited-overs series.
Reflecting on Pant’s rough patch, Nehra said, “There are a lot of talented players but they should be backed for a longer duration.”
“Today also when we talk about the number 5 and 6 slots in Indian ODI side, then we are not sure about it. KL Rahul is playing on the 5th position and Pant, the person you were preparing to succeed MS Dhoni, is serving water,” Nehra said during a recent interaction with former India opener Aakash Chopra.
“I know he has missed his chances and there is no doubt about it but then you have kept him in the team because you saw the potential in him at 22-23 years,” Nehra added.
After a 3-0 drubbing against New Zealand in the ODI series earlier this year, India skipper Virat Kohli asserted that this format held very little relevance as compared to Tests and T20Is. However, the lanky pacer disagreed with the skipper’s remark, stating that the statement would have been justified if India had won the series.
“If you win and tell this it’s a different thing. It’s wrong to say that the year is for T20s and so we don’t care about 50-over matches…if it doesn’t matter then why did you even come to play. Are you trying to tell that the Indian team didn’t try to win those ODI matches against New Zealand. I don’t agree with Virat Kohli’s statement,” the former India cricketer said.
He also feels that the current unit still is not as good the great Australian side, which won three World Cups in a row – 1999, 2003, 2007.
“This Indian team is far from the Australia team. You are talking about an Australian team which won 3 consecutive World Cups, reached in the final in 1996, won 18-19 Test matches in home and away conditions. It’s not like this Indian team can not reach there but I believe the core group is very important. A person gets confused after watching many dishes on the table and so it’s important to have fewer but better dishes,” Nehra said.
He also opined his views in the ongoing debate over the use of saliva in the sport post Covid-19. “Will they give vaseline to the umpires and tell bowlers that you can use 1kg of vaseline in 90 overs?” Nehra wondered.