As it seems, the supporters of Team India aren’t exactly pleased with the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the T20 squad, and unfortunately Rishabh Pant has become the target. In last month’s Bangladesh series, Pant’s errors were received with jeering ‘Dhoni’ chants across the stadiums, which got the skipper Virat Kohli worked up. However, Sourav Ganguly has a solution.
Before the Windies match kicked off today, Kohli came out in support of Pant, stating that mocking the 22 year old wicket keeper-batsman using the name of Mahi is disrespectful to the former captain.
“I think it’s a collective responsibility for everyone around us as well to give that player some space” Kohli told earlier.
“If he misses a chance or something, you know, people can’t shout MS’ (MS Dhoni) name in the stadium, it’s not respectful if I have to put it that way, because no player would like that to happen.” the skipper added.
Sourav, who is the current president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given his compatriots the perfect solution to deal with the chants.
At the India Today Conclave East 2019 today, the 47 year old said: “If I were Virat Kohli, I would just let him go through it, let him hear it and find ways to succeed. Everybody must remember that you don’t get MS Dhoni’s every day. He is a once-in-a-generation cricketer.”
Dhoni, who was the legendary leader and the Men in Blue’s man behind the stumps, was replaced by Pant during the selection, and the youngster from Roorkee featured in the South Africa series prior to the Bangladesh T20 series and is also starring in the ongoing West Indies series.
“I think it’s good for him because he will get used to it. I personally feel pressure is something which he needs to get used to. When he played for Delhi last year, he was one of the main players. He played in front of a packed houses. Taking responsibility wasn’t an issue,” Dada added.
Pant, who plays for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, only managed to score 36 runs in the Bangladesh series. Although ‘Dada’ feels its the natural way of progression, as it was in case of Dhoni himself.
Sourav continued: “MS Dhoni also, when he started, was not MS Dhoni. It took him 15 years to be MS Dhoni. It will take Rishabh Pant also close to 15 years to be even close to what MS Dhoni is today.”
Making his first T20 debut against England in 2017, Pant has 68 T20 caps to his name, along with 291 and 224 caps in the test and ODI format.