"Not Rash Or Carefree": Sanjay Manjrekar Comes To Rishabh Pant's Defence
Sanjay Manjrekar said if that shot was played by someone like a Cheteshwar Pujara or Virat Kohli then there could have been more scrutiny but because it was Rishabh Pant, who has played like this in the past, it should not create ripples.
- Rishabh Pant was out for a duck in India's 2nd innings in Johannesburg
- Pant's attempted lofted shot was criticized by former India cricketers
- Sanjay Manjrekar, however, defended Pant's batting approach
Rishabh Pant faced a lot of criticism from prominent former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Gautam Gambhir for the shot he played on Day 3 in the India vs South Africa 2nd Test match in Johannesburg and ended up losing his wicket. The India wicketkeeper-batter was out for a duck while trying to charge down the track and hit Kagiso Rabada over the in-field in only the third ball of his innings. Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar, however, had a different point of view. Manjrekar backed Pant and said there is a "method to his madness" which has got him success in the past in difficult conditions like Australia and England.
The former India batter said if that shot was played by someone like a Cheteshwar Pujara or Virat Kohli then there could have been more scrutiny but because it was Pant, who has played like this in the past, it should not create ripples.
"If you saw a Pujara or a Virat Kohli doing that then you would think something has gone wrong but this is Rishabh Pant. He has done that in the past. People praised him when he played that reverse ramp off Jimmy Anderson against the second new ball, so that's the way he plays," Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.
The former right-handed batter then went on to add that the same approach brought Pant success in England and Australia.
"This is a guy who, in a short career, has played two great Test innings - one in England, one in Australia. During the start of those innings, we have seen these kinds of shots being played by Rishabh Pant. This is how Rishabh Pant plays. This is not him being rash or carefree. There is a method to his madness," he said.
Manjrekar said Pant was probably expecting a fuller length delivery from Rabada because the previous two balls were shot and if the left-hander had connected the attempted heave then he would have settled down.
"I am starting to understand that this guy is pretty sharp here (pointing to brain). People thought the short ball rattled him. He was thinking the next ball is going to be right up. That's the one that he wanted to take on and I have seen him do that in the past. If he connects that ball and if it goes for a four or a six, then he sort of settles down for the next 30-40 minutes. This is a guy who can also defend well. He doesn't have a problem with the short ball," the former India batter explained.
"This is Pant's very unique and high-risk way of playing cricket. When you get those exciting results from him, and if you accept that, then you have got to accept this as well. This is one of the occupational hazards with his batting approach," he added.
India lost the Test match by 7 wickets as South Africa levelled the three-match series, making the third Test match in Cape Town a decider.