Pant's shots may look irresponsible at times but he is one of the most responsible players: Manjrekar

Mumbai, July 19 ( Surprise Sports Desk) Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has opined that though Rishabh Pant may have got out to irresponsible shots occasionally, but nobody should question his responsibility when it comes to his commitment to the India team.

The cricketer-turned-commentator also said Pant and all-rounder Hardik Pandya can form the backbone of the India middle order, provided the latter doesn’t get injured.

“No, he’s (Pant) always responsible. He may seem irresponsible sometimes when he gets out, when he gets out playing one of those kinds of shots, we’ve got to look at it as somebody getting out at slips because the game has changed and that is Rishabh Pant’s primary sort of skill. He’s got to sound different but when he extends himself, he tries these shots.

“The winning runs for example (in the third ODI vs England), it’s a part of his basic attacking, array of shots that he has. So, responsibility-wise I think this guy is just incredible because of the kind of record he has in Test cricket,” Manjrekar said on SPORTS18’s daily sports news.

He said it’s tough to play the kind of strokes Pant plays if one is not responsible and calm by nature.

“You can’t play those kinds of shots if you are not responsible by nature, wanting to win the game and in this one-day (third ODI vs England at Old Trafford) as well you could see him. He was responsibility personified; he was calmness personified. I got very excited watching Rishabh Pant because there’s something about this country (India), that we keep producing these kinds of batters every generation,” added Manjrekar.

Pant played a fantastic unbeaten innings of 125 (113 balls) as India defeated England in the third ODI by five wickets to clinch the three-match series 2-1. Pant along with Pandya (71 off 55 balls) left England in a daze with their batting in the middle order after the top-three batters — Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli — were dismissed cheaply.

Shedding light on the future India middle order, Manjrekar said, “Yes, just hoping that Hardik can keep his fitness together. No issues about Rishabh Pant. What we saw in that last one-day (ODI), I was completely floored by the sheer talent and ability of these two guys, temperament as well, built a long partnership and how easily, in the end, India won. Thanks to Rishabh Pant for staying there till the end.

“So yes, high-quality batters, and they’re going to be batting mostly at number 4 and 5 whether it’s T20 cricket or 50-overs cricket or Pant could be opening as well. In 2019, we had a lot of issues finding a proper middle order but now we have some quality supply,” added Manjrekar.

— Surprise Sports Desk

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