Pant can handle pressure well, could captain India in future, says Arun Lal

New Delhi, July 19 ( Surprise Sports Desk) Former India cricketer Arun Lal feels that Rishabh Pant has all the qualities in him to captain the Indian cricket team after Rohit Sharma.

The 66-year-old Lal, who recently decided to step down as the head coach of the Bengal cricket team, lauded Pant’s ability to play game-changing knocks under pressure in both Test and limited-overs formats.

“Yes, absolutely (On being asked if Rishabh Pant is the future captain after Rohit Sharma). I always feel that the captain must deserve his place among the top three in the team. He (Pant) is someone who is not afraid to play his game, can handle pressure well, can take the team out of tough situations and such a player can be a great leader. It will be good for Indian cricket if we can have an aggressive player like Pant as captain of the side,” Lal told Jagran TV.

“There was a time when winning in Test cricket was considered once you secured yourself a draw. But this thinking has changed now and I give complete credit to Virat Kohli. He changed the mindset of the team and made the team play for a win without the fear of losing. Virat brought that aggression to the team and it can’t get any better if Pant can continue this. If Pant can play consistently, he will be a hero for the Indian team,” he added.

Pant’s unbeaten 125 helped India seal a five-wicket victory over England in the third ODI at Old Trafford on Sunday and complete a 2-1 series victory.

Pant has also become the first Asian wicketkeeper-batsman to score a century in both ODI and Test cricket in England.

Lal said Pant is unparalleled in terms of his ability to not just slam hundreds but score them in the winning cause and in tough situations.

“If you play well in red-ball format, there are chances that you will do well in white-ball format too with a little bit of adjustment. However, it’s not necessary that if you play well in the white-ball format, you will be able to perform the same way in the red-ball format because in Test cricket, you need a different set of skills, the ability to handle different kind of pressure, physical fitness to sustain five-day cricket. I have seen Rishabh Pant changing the tides both in Tests and limited-overs formats. It is not about scoring centuries, but a century that comes under difficult circumstances and helps to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

“Slamming a hundred at 50 for 5 is more special than scoring a hundred at 500 for 4. These knocks help you stand out. Rishabh Pant is unparalleled,” Lal said.

“He is a young and talented player and generating a lot of interest with his style of play. It will be great if he can continue to play like this because he is a game-changer,” he added.

— Surprise Sports Desk

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