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India vs West Indies, 1st ODI: ‘Rishabh Pant has immense ability, can be match-winner’

Under-fire Rishabh Pant has got a big boost ahead of the first ODI between India and West Indies in Chennai

India vs West Indies 1st ODI under fire Rishabh Pant gets major backing
Chennai, First Published Dec 14, 2019, 5:27 PM IST
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Chennai: India’s young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been under pressure but the team management continues to back the Delhi lad. The latest is batting coach Vikram Rathour.

India and West Indies are set to face off in Chennai tomorrow (December 15) in the opening ODI of the three-match series. The 22-year-old Pant will again be in the spotlight as his performances, both behind the stumps and in front of them, have not been impressive. In 12 ODIs so far, he averages 22.90 with the bat with no half centuries.

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On Saturday (December 14), talking to the media in the pre-match press conference, Rathour believed Pant can be Team India’s X-factor.

“The reason why we keep discussing him (Pant) is that he has got an immense ability. Everybody believes he can be an X factor. All of us believe he is a good player who can come good. He is working hard on his game and fitness,” Rathour said in Chennai.

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He added, “Once he starts getting runs, he can be a massive player for the Indian team, he can be a match-winner.”

Rathour, who replaced Sanjay Bangar as the team’s batting coach, said it was not necessary to give Pant a break from international cricket. “I don't think the time has arrived yet. Again he is working on certain things. He is looking good in the nets. He has been decent in the T20s. He was asked to do a certain job in the last T20 which he did. That's what the team looks for.”

In the recently concluded T20I series against the Caribbean side, India won 2-1. Pant scored 18, 33 not out and 0. In the series-decider in Mumbai, he was promoted to number three but could utilise the opportunity as he was dismissed for a two-ball duck.

Whenever Pant makes a mistake on the field, fans have chanted MS Dhoni’s name. Even captain Virat Kohli had urged fans not to target Pant. Dhoni has not played for India since the team’s semi-final loss in July at the ICC World Cup 2019 in England.

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