India Test vice captain Ajinkya Rahane is perhaps one of the very few in the current Indian side in New Zealand who can relate to what young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant must be going through. Pitted as India’s first-choice ‘keeper in all three formats even till last year, Pant has somehow lost his place in the Indian XI in all three formats. If it was KL Rahul’s multifaceted skills that pushed Pant down the pecking order in limited overs cricket, it was Wriddhiman Saha’s superior glovework that prompted the team management to keep Pant in the bench in Tests.
Rahane too was dropped from the XI despite being India’s vice captain in the first Test in South Africa in 2018. But the Mumbai right-hander made strong comeback and once again cemented his place in the side. And now Rahane wants Pant to do the same but for starters he wants the left-hander to control the controllables.
“It’s important to accept whatever you are going through. Be positive, try and learn as many things as possible from any of the players. Not saying it has to be senior or junior,” Rahane said on the eve of the first Test against New Zealand at Wellington.
Asked how one can internalize rejection or failure, Rahane said introspection becomes key and that starts with acceptance.
“See no one likes to sit outside but whatever your team needs on a particular game, you have got to accept that. I think acceptance is really important talking about that particular individual. Focus on controllables, keeping working hard and improve as a cricketer.”
While there has been no confirmation on who will be India’s wicket-keeper in the first Test against New Zealand starting on Friday, indications are clear that will be it Saha, who had done brilliant job behind the stumps in the home Test series against Bangladesh.
“You should try and focus on what he can control as player and keep visualizing that you will get an opportunity. You know what your role is. For Rishabh, he bats at No 6 or 7, so keep visualising about what if he gets an opportunity and what his role is. Keep it simple,” said Rahane.