‘You have to bat for the team, not for yourself’ – Madan Lal comes down hard at Rishabh Pant for throwing away wicket in Johannesburg Test
India managed to squander a good chance of making 2-0 against South Africa in the ongoing three-match Test series. The visitors were in a commanding position on day three of the Wanderers Test due to a fighting 111-run stand between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. However, the duo’s back-to-back dismissals triggered a collapse of sorts. A lot was expected from Wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant, but he lasted only three balls and was out for a duck.
The southpaw’s mode of dismissal was criticized by former cricketers and experts. Rather than batting sensibly and adding some crucial runs, Pant needlessly attacked Kagiso Rabada when there was still ample time left in the game. His lack of contribution meant South Africa were set a target of 240, which they overhauled rather comfortably. Sunil Gavaskar and Gautam Gambhir lambasted Pant for not showing enough fight, while the former India all-rounder Madan Lal has also come hard down at Pant and has told he needs to be given a break from the Tests.
The cricketer-turned-expert also said the southpaw is match-winner, but he has to figure out to go about his business in the longest format of the game. Speaking on Aaj Tak, Lal said, “He should be given a break. And you have someone like Wriddhiman Saha. He is a sensible batsman. He is a very good wicketkeeper. But Pant has to decide how he wants to bat in Test cricket. If there is some doubt in his mind, it is better to give him a break. He is a match-winning player, but you cannot bat like this. You have to bat for the team and not for yourself.”
The series tantalizingly is poised 1-1. The third and final Test match will be played in Cape Town starting from January 11. Regular skipper Virat Kohli is expected to return after missing the second match due to back spasms.