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Sports


'I just want to play normal, positive cricket' : Rishabh Pant

'I just want to play normal, positive cricket' : Rishabh Pant

Port of Spain, Aug 14 (UNI) Rishabh Pant, the India wicket-keeper batsman, is determined

to stick to his natural game, even as he aims to produce match-winning performances for

his team.

Pant, who has almost cemented his spot as the first-choice wicket-keeper in the Test

side, is seen as a front-runner to replace MS Dhoni in India's limited-overs set-up.

However, as a natural stroke-player, he has often been criticised for his shot selection

and pulled up for giving his wicket away. Of his five innings so far on the tour of the

West Indies and the US, his only significant contribution came in the third and final

T20I game, where his breezy 42-ball 65 not out powered India to a convincing

seven-wicket win.

The Delhi batsman realises the importance of scoring big, but wants to stick to his

natural game. "As an individual, I would like to have a big score at my back but I am

not focusing on that every time I go in," the 21-year-old said. "I just want to play normal,

positive cricket. Hopefully I can help my team to win matches. Every match is crucial

for me."

As against his natural aggressive approach, Pant got off to a slow start in the second

ODI at Port of Spain. He then played a false cross-batted shot to Carlos Brathwaite,

which ended his 35-ball stay at the crease. As both sides meet at the same venue for

the series decider on Wednesday, Pant believes a patient approach is required to play

a long innings, on a surface he reckons is not conducive for batting, an ICC report on

Wednesday said.

"The pitch is slightly on the slower side, it's not a very flat wicket," he said. "You

need to give yourself time when you go in, but after that you can score more runs."

Pant has been backed to take up the problematic No.4 position in India's line-up.

However, Shreyas Iyer's fluent 71 in the second ODI has prompted many to believe

that Iyer could be a better option to take up the two-down spot.

"In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher

because that's where his natural game and natural flair will come into play," India

batting legend Sunil Gavaskar had said. "If it's a question of batting for 30-35 overs,

then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No.4 and Pant at No.5."

Pant, meanwhile, played down the idea that the team were experimenting too

much. "We are just giving a chance to everyone," he said. "Everyone is confident

about their position thanks to the team management's support."

UNI XC-BM

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