"It's important to..."- VVS Laxman breaks his silence on why India is giving continuous chances to Rishabh Pant
The three-match ODI series ended in favour of the hosts, as New Zealand won it by a 1-0 margin, with two games ending without no result due to rain. There were a lot of things to take note of in the series, which the Indian team and management would like to address.
One of the main concerns was the form of stand-in vice captain Rishabh Pant, who looked out of sorts the whole tour. In the four innings (T20Is and ODIs) he played on the tour, he scored 6, 11, 15, and 10.
Many former cricketers and cricket pundits questioned Pant's consistent opportunities despite his poor form. However, after the third ODI was cancelled due to rain, India's stand-in coach, VVS Laxman, explained why Pant was given back-to-back chances.
Pant was sidelined for most of the T20 World Cup 2022 but played in two games, including the semi-final. But he didn't make the most of both opportunities. He scored 3 and 6 against South Africa and England in two innings.
And with the likes of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan waiting in the wings, it seems Pant is running out of chances. In an interaction on Prime Video ahead of the third ODI, Laxman revealed the reason for India's backing of Pant.
He said, "Pant has been doing well at No. 4, and not too long ago he scored an important century at Old Trafford, so it's important to back him. T20 cricket has given batters more confidence about clearing the grounds no matter how big the outfields are, they also work a lot with the range-hitting."
Samson, on the other hand, has been warming the bench and has only played one game during the New Zealand tour. He played in the first ODI and scored a decent 38-ball 36. In 11 ODI games, he has also scored 330 runs at an average of 66.
Thus, his exclusion from the team is putting more pressure on Pant. Notably, India will travel to Bangladesh now for three ODIs and two Tests, and Laxman will be back to the NCA for his chief role while Rahul Dravid will be back as the head coach on the Bangladesh tour.