‘Stop Always Looking For Loopholes & Faults’: Ashwin Defends Pant

“Rishabh Pant was always going to be a good cricketer,” said R Ashwin after India won the second Test at Chennai.

3 min read

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had a dream Test outing in front of his hometown crowd in Chennai as he picked eight wickets and also scored a century to help India to a 317-run victory over England in the second Test.

"I watched cricket from these very stands here in 'Chepauk' when I was eight or nine years old. My father would bring me here for any Test match and I would dream about getting a chance to walk on this ground or at least play one game," said Ashwin in the post-match presentation ceremony.

R Ashwin picked up 5 wickets for 63 runs on Day 2 of the Chennai Test.
R Ashwin picked up 5 wickets for 63 runs on Day 2 of the Chennai Test.
(Photo: BCCI)

And even as Ashwin celebrated his Man-of-the-Match winning outing, it was a question from a reporter on Rishabh Pant’s outing with the gloves in Chennai that had the cricketer share some of his– now regular– insight into the game.

Ashwin first started by describing how he had seen Australians treat a young player who was stepping into the big stage.

“About two months ago we had a cricketer called Cameron Green who made his debut for Australia and even before he made his debut, everyone said he was the next big thing. I think he got 150 runs, and don’t think he got a wicket through the series. But how much he was built up and how much confidence he was given in Australia made me reflect back and think about how we as a community treat our cricketers, the young ones. It gave me a massive perspective,” said Ashwin.

He then went onto compare the support and praise Green received, even before his debut, to what Rishabh Pant has been put through over the last few years with the young wicket-keeper being criticised for even one single bad outing of his.

“Rishabh Pant is an excellent cricketer and there are many more excellent cricketers in the squad and outside the team’s scheme as well. They’re all excellent and we believe they’re excellent. But it almost gets like to a point where we’re searching for what’s wrong with them. Rishabh Pant was always going to be a good cricketer, he was always going to improve. Only if we back them in such a way that they can improve will they improve faster but if you’re going to find those loopholes and faults, cricketers are going to take that much longer,” said Ashwin.

“So I think its more of a mindset issue for us and as a community, we should be able to embrace how good a cricketer is. We can see a lot of positives but we tend to see the negatives. If we see a lot more positives, we will have more champion cricketers,” he added.

Rishabh Pant took two stunning catches on Day 2 of the Chennai Test vs England.
Rishabh Pant took two stunning catches on Day 2 of the Chennai Test vs England.
(Photo: BCCI)

Indian captain Virat Kohli too praised Rishabh Pant’s contributions to India’s victory after the keeper scored an unbeaten 58 in the first innings and then was also impressive with the wicketkeeping gloves. He took two stunning catches on the third day and effected a sharp stumping of Dan Lawrence off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin on Day 4.

"Pant has really worked hard in Australia and the difference when he moves with the gloves, you can see in his reflexes and reactions. He has shed a lot of weight in Australia and it shows in the way he kept wickets on a pitch that has so much turn and bounce. We want him to get stronger with his skill sets as a wicketkeeper because we know how much value he adds to the team," said Kohli.

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