Delhi Capitals (DC) captain Rishabh Pant has not been able to capitalise on the good starts that he has got in the IPL 2022. The left-handed batter has scored 281 runs in 11 matches at a strike rate of 152.71. Though he is DC’s second highest run-getter, he has not been able to score a half-century. His scores have mostly remained limited to the mid-20s and mid-30s. His performance has reflected in DC’s show too. The franchise has won five of their 11 matches and are fifth in the points table.
With race for the play-offs heating up, the Pant-led DC need to pull up their socks starting from their match against the third-placed Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday. Former Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri has a word of advice for the 24-year-old Pant.
“I feel once he gets the tempo going he shouldn’t change, he should be in the (Andre) Russell mould in this format of the game,” Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo’s ‘T20 Time Out’.
“You get your eye in, you’re striking it well – don’t think too much. No matter who the bowler is, if it’s there to be smacked, smack it. Who knows, you might win more matches than people expect you to.”
Shastri feels what sets Andre Rusell, one the most destructive batters in T20 cricket, apart from the other is the clarity of mindset, which will also serve Pant, who is capable of playing belligerent knocks, well.
“Russell is very, very clear in his mindset. It is bang-bang-bang once he’s in the mood. There’s no stopping him, there’s not even a negative thought that will peep through his system – it is (all about) smacking.
“Rishabh is totally capable of playing in that fashion, and I hope he thinks in that way because you’ll see some special innings from him in T20 cricket. He’s getting off to starts and then getting out in a manner which he wouldn’t like, but I don’t think he should change his tempo,” added Shastri.
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori feels Pant is his best when he is reckless and pummelling the opposition.
“Rishabh Pant is almost at his best when he’s reckless, and we’ve seen him play some exceptional innings when he just continues to take teams down time and time again,” Vettori said.
The Capitals have lacked a quality finisher and Pant has adopted a conservative approach out of a sense of responsibility.
“It’s a team game, you don’t expect an individual to go and win the game all the time. But in that short period of time, if he does the damage, there’s enough damage to bring that required rate from say 12 an over to 10 an over. Then it’s for the other guys to take it home,” Vettori added.
The Capitals need to win all their three remaining matches to get to the play-offs and Shastri wants Pant to bat at number 3.
“I’d like to see him bat at three for Delhi Capitals, especially now when the heat is on, when they’ve got to win. Let him go and smack it.”
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