Rahul Dravid shrugged off concerns about Rishabh Pant’s form and said he is “certainly” a part of Team India’s plans in the near future.
The five-match T20I series between India and South Africa ended level at 2-2 after the series decider at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru was abandoned due to rain on Sunday. Only 3.3 overs were possible in the game and India managed to post 28/2 in that duration. South Africa had won the first two T20Is, but Team India managed to stage a comeback in the next two, to bring the series on level terms at 2-2.
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid addressed a press conference after the final T20I was abandoned due to rain and he spoke about the form of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dinesh Karthik, and the brand of cricket his side wanted to play.
When asked about his take on Rishabh Pant’s captaincy, the 52-year-old said: “It was good. To bring a team from 0-2 to 2-2 with a chance to win the series, is good. Captaincy is not just about wins and losses, you can’t do that. I think he is a young captain and he is growing and learning. Too early to judge him, it is not something you want to do after one series or few games. But, it is nice he has got some opportunity to show that. He gets an understanding of what is like to lead, to keep, and bat so a lot of load on him. It is a question of him learning and gaining from that. Credit to him, he was able to work with the team.”
“When you are in the middle overs and you are asking people to play a little more attacking brand of cricket, looking to take the game on, sometimes it is very hard to judge on the basis of 2-3 games. I thought he (Pant) had a pretty good IPL, in terms of you know, might not have looked good in averages, but I thought his strike rate was good in the IPL. In that process, he might go wrong but he remains an integral part of our batting lineup with the power he has and what he can do. He has played some good knocks, of course personally he would have liked to score a few more runs but it is not that concerning. He is certainly part of our plans going in the next few months.”
Talking about the form of Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dravid said: “Yeah, we are not going to make knee-jerk reactions on people, I do not like judging people after one series or one game. Every one of the guys who got an opportunity here, truly deserved the opportunity. They have earned it, in this format of the game, you are going to have good and bad games. Shreyas Iyer, he showed a lot of intent on a couple of tricky wickets and played positively for us. Ruturaj showed in one innings, the quality and skill he has got. In 20-20, you can have odd games, where it goes up and down a little bit, your form and performance. We are not very disappointed with anyone, as a group we were looking to play a certain brand of cricket,” said Dravid during a press conference.
“We were looking to play a slightly positive and attacking brand of cricket right from the very beginning. It is not always going to come off, but we were certain on the brand of cricket we want to play. We are going to start looking to form the World Cup squad as quickly as possible. Whether it is going to happen in the next series or the series after that, it is hard to tell but certainly, we are looking to do that as quickly as possible,” he added.
Talking about Dinesh Karthik, Dravid said: “It was very nice to see Dinesh Karthik come off and do what he has been really picked to do. It opens up a lot more options for us going forward. An innings like that, I have been telling the guys that you need to start banging the door down right, not about knocking the door, it is about banging the door down. And an innings like that, certainly means he (Karthik) is knocking very hard.”