BENGALURU: After the 5th T20I between India and South Africa at Bengaluru was abandoned due to rain, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid threw his weight behind India’s stand-in captain for the series Rishabh Pant.
The explosive wicketkeeper-batsman came under fire after he scored just 58 runs in the series and got out in a similar manner in four matches.
“Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not concerning him. Certainly, he is a very big part of our plans going ahead in the next few months,” Dravid told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a slightly attacking brand of cricket. In the process, he might go wrong in a few games but he remains an integral part of our batting line-up. The fact that he is a left-hander is important to us in the middle overs. He has some good knocks,” the 49-year-old asserted.
Dravid also lauded Pant’s captaincy and credited him for scripting India’s comeback in the series. “To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. Pant is a young captain and is growing as a leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” he firmly stated.
“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He has a lot of load on him but gained from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” Dravid added.
When asked about Dinesh Karthik’s performance in the series, he said, “He was picked for a specific purpose as he has been finishing games very well in the last three years. We needed someone like him to give us the push in the match at Rajkot. I thought he and Hardik Pandya batted brilliantly there. It’s nice to have someone like him at an important position in the batting order.”
About the rescheduled fifth Test, which is slated to be played at Edgbaston from July 1 to 5, Dravid said the boys in the team are really keen to win it and seal the series.
“It is always great to play Test cricket in England. The guys are really looking forward to the match and want to win it to seal the series. Last year, England were a little down but they are playing some good cricket at the moment,” he concluded.
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