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'I just want to play normal, positive cricket' – Rishabh Pant

India news

Rishabh Pant, the India wicket-keeper batsman, is determined to stick to his natural game, even as he aims to produce match-winning performances for his team.

Pant, who has almost cemented his spot as the first-choice wicket-keeper in the Test side, is seen as a front-runner to replace MS Dhoni in India's limited-overs set-up. However, as a natural stroke-player, he has often been criticised for his shot selection and pulled up for giving his wicket away. Of his five innings so far on the tour of the West Indies and the US, his only significant contribution came in the third and final T20I game, where his breezy 42-ball 65* powered India to a convincing seven-wicket win.

The Delhi batsman realises the importance of scoring big, but wants to stick to his natural game. "As an individual, I would like to have a big score at my back but I am not focusing on that every time I go in," the 21-year-old said on Tuesday, 13 August. "I just want to play normal, positive cricket. Hopefully I can help my team to win matches. Every match is crucial for me."

As an individual, I would like to have a big score at my back but I am not focusing on that everytime I go in. I just want to play normal, positive cricket.

Rishabh Pant

As against his natural aggressive approach, Pant got off to a slow start in the second ODI at Port of Spain. He then played a false cross-batted shot to Carlos Brathwaite, which ended his 35-ball stay at the crease. As both sides meet at the same venue for the series decider on Wednesday, Pant believes a patient approach is required to play a long innings, on a surface he reckons is not conducive for batting.

"The pitch is slightly on the slower side, it's not a very flat wicket," he said. "You need to give yourself time when you go in, but after that you can score more runs."

Pant has been backed to take up the problematic No.4 position in India's line-up. However, Shreyas Iyer's fluent 71 in the second ODI has prompted many to believe that Iyer could be a better option to take up the two-down spot.

"In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that's where his natural game and natural flair will come into play," India batting legend Sunil Gavaskar had said. "If it's a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No.4 and Pant at No.5."

Pant, meanwhile, played down the idea that the team were experimenting too much. "We are just giving a chance to everyone," he said. "Everyone is confident about their position thanks to the team management's support."

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