Rishabh Pant played a blistering knock against SunRisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League match on Thursday where he smacked 128 off just 63 balls. Heaping high praise on the youngster, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said he now needs to be consistent to make the India cut. Wicketkeeper-batsman Pant is not part of any of the senior India teams that will tour England and play a one-off Test against Afghanistan.
"I think he has a future but having said that consistency is important," Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event here.
"It's not just one-off. I was reading about Ishan Kishan where he got 21-ball 62 in Kolkata...but when you pick someone for the country you look at consistency. How many times does he keep doing that?"
"Yes T20 is different, opportunities are lot lesser. But I think for someone like Pant and Ishan, their time will come. They are young and there is no hurry. They will mature as they play more games and they will play for India in the years to come," he added.
Justifying the presence of two wicketkeepers in the senior team, Ganguly said Mahendra Singh Dhoni was irreplacable while Dinesh Karthik "deserves" to be in the side.
"He will get there. At the present moment, MS Dhoni is there. You can't replace him. Then you have Dinesh Karthik who I thought deserves a chance in the national side especially after what he did against Sri Lanka," the former skipper said.
"To win that game which was absolutely lost for India...and I think Dinesh deserves more than anybody else because he is a very very good player."
Karthik's last ball six had helped India defeat Bangladesh by 4 wickets and clinch the Nidahas T20 Trophy final in Sri Lanka.
Ganguly further said that Pant's whirlwind knock reminded him of Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008.
"The innings he played last night, I saw Brendon McCullum from the other end in the first (IPL) game in Bangalore against RCB in 2008 where he got 150 (158). I was at the other end batting with him. But to see Rishabh Pant play yesterday was phenomenal," Ganguly said.
Delhi were on the ropes when Pant came in to bat and he was then part of two run-outs before single-handedly tearing apart the famed Sunrisers' attack.
A 36-ball half-century made way for a 56-ball century. By the time he finished, Daredevils had smashed 135 off their last 10 overs to swell the total to 187 for 5.
"Delhi were struggling, they had lost few wickets and he was involved in a couple of run outs. And to come out and play like that for a young player, he was remarkable," Ganguly said.
Daredevils lost the match by nine wickets as Sunrisers' duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson made light of the target with an unbroken 176-run stand, the highest partnership this season.
(With IANS inputs)