Sourav Ganguly: ‘Superb’ Rishabh Pant needs to be given time

The BCCI president backed the wicketkeeper-batsman, saying the 21-year-old will mature slowly with time.

Rishabh Pant hasn’t been in great form in T20Is of late, with a total of 50 runs scored in his last four matches.   -  PTI

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Friday firmly backed Rishabh Pant, saying the wicketkeeper-batsman is a “superb player” who would mature slowly. The 21-year-old Pant has struggled to make an impact with the bat and behind the stumps in ongoing T20I series against Bangladesh, but Ganguly felt he needed more time.

“He’s a superb player. Give Rishabh Pant time, he will be fine,” the former India captain told PTI when asked if India was missing M. S. Dhoni’s safe hands behind the wickets. “He will mature slowly, you have to give him time. India played really well last night.”

Pant had a forgettable outing at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, his home ground, in Delhi. He scored 27 off 26 deliveries and made errors in calling for the DRS as India suffered its first-ever loss against Bangladesh in a T20I.

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Captain Rohit Sharma led by example as India levelled the series in an emphatic fashion in Rajkot on Thursday. Pant had an embarrassing moment with the gloves as he collected the ball in front of the stumps to miss Liton Das’ stumping. Later, he redeemed himself to an extent by effecting an excellent run-out and stumping.

India plays the final T20I of the series on Sunday, after which it plays 10 more T20Is leading up to the T20 World Cup in October, 2020. There has been no news yet of Dhoni’s availability for the World Cup.

Galaxy of stars

Ganguly further spoke about the upcoming day-night Test in India at the Eden Gardens. A galaxy of Indian sports stars, including Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, P. V. Sindhu and M. C. Mary Kom, among others, will be felicitated.

Day One proceedings are slated to begin with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ringing the bell. The Cricket Association of Bengal will also felicitate the players who competed in the first India-Bangladesh Test in 2000, a game in which Ganguly made his debut as captain of the Test team.

“Everyone has confirmed. We will have a formal reception in the afternoon,” Ganguly said.