India failed to cash in after their 113-run victory in first Test and suffered an embarrassing defeat by 7-wickets against South Africa on Thursday in the second Test of three match series. Skipper Dean Elgar led from the front for the hosts and played a match-winning knock of 96 runs off 188 balls, in the second innings to ensure thumping victory in rain affected match. Notably, team India were led by stand-in captain KL Rahul, after regular skipper Virat Kohli opted out of the match due to back spasm.
Post defeat, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid addressed media virtually and highlighted few of the aspects where team needs to work on to be able to come out stronger in the third and decisive Test match, scheduled to take place in Cape Town from January 11-15. What caught everyone’s attention was Rahul admitting the fact Rishabh Pant, wicketkeeper batsman who is facing severe criticism for his poor performances, is not playing proper shots, resulting in his early dismissals.
Speaking to media, Dravid said he would always want Pant to play positive cricket but at times, the shot selection could be different. “We know Rishabh plays positively and he plays in a particular manner which resulted him a little bit of success. But of course, there are times when we are going to have to have some sort of level of conversations around the timings of his shot selection.”
Rishabh Pant’s poor performance in both the innings of 2nd Test was one of the reasons why team failed to put on a good total on board. In the first innings, he was caught behind at the score of 17 off 43 balls, followed by three ball duck in the second innings. Pant was heavily criticized by the batting legend Sunil Gavaskar for his poor shot selection and the veteran reminded the wicketkeeper batsman to “realize some sort of responsibility.”
Emphasizing on the character of Pant, Dravid said that, “He is a really positive player, he is someone who can change the course of the game very quickly for us, so naturally won’t take that away from him and ask him to become something very different. He plays in a particular way, so it’s always something that he is going to keep learning, keep improving and keep getting better.” But, he also reminded Pant that there will be times when he needs to be patient and spend some time on crease to set him up.