Johannesburg, Jan 6 (IANS) India head coach Rahul Dravid has said that no one in the team will instruct wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant to not be in his aggressive or positive self.
He acknowledged that a time will arrive when the coaching staff will have talks with Pant over the timing of playing particular shots.
Pant played a reckless shot to get out for a three-ball duck in the second innings. After being beaten outside the off-stump, Kagiso Rabada rattled Pant with a snorter of a delivery, hitting him on the gloves after sneaking past his helmet grille.
On the very next ball, Pant stepped out to slog a short ball from Rabada but gave a feather edge behind to keeper Kyle Verreynne.
“In the sense that, we know Rishabh is a positive player and he plays in a particular manner which has gotten him a little bit of success. But, of course, there are times we are going to have sort of level of conversations with him around. It is just a little bit about maybe the selection of the time to that. No one is going to ever tell Rishabh not to be a positive or aggressive player. But sometimes it is just a question of picking and choosing the time to do that,” said Dravid in the virtual press conference.
Dravid gave an explanation on how the talk with Pant will be ahead of the third Test at Cape Town. “When you have just come in, maybe giving yourself a little bit more time would be more advisable. In the end, we know what we are getting with Rishabh, he is a really positive player, he is someone who can change the course of the game for us, so we naturally won’t take that away from him and ask him to become something very different. It is about figuring out what is the right time to attack or play out a slightly difficult period that sets your innings up. He is learning, he plays in a particular way but he will keep learning, improving and keep getting better.”
Dravid went on to praise South Africa captain Dean Elgar’s unbeaten 96, which helped the hosts chase down 240. “He played well. You got to give him credit. He really stuck it out there, I think in both Test matches. He has stuck out there and fought through some very difficult periods. We have beaten the bat quite a few times, I must admit even in the first innings and here, but we haven’t been lucky in that sense. The odd ball has kicked up and hit the glove and fallen to probably where fielders haven’t been.”
Elgar received many blows on his body but was rock-solid and defiant in staying at the crease to carry his bat through the chase. “But credit to him, in spite of being beaten and not looking very comfortable, he stuck it out there and showed a lot of resilience, determination and fought his way through. We just had to keep coming back and had some clear strategies and plans against him but didn’t get him out with those strategies and plans.”
Dravid also felt luck deserted India on day four. “At times, it just doesn’t work your way. You beat the bat a lot of times and just don’t get that nick which we were looking for. But like I said in the end, he sort of showed a lot of character and determination to keep fighting even though at times he didn’t look very comfortable.”
The 48-year-old rued the fact that there wasn’t much swing on offer once play resumed on day four after rain relented. “We came here knowing that we will have to do something really special to get those eight wickets with 122 on board. Obviously, it was under covers for a while. But also, we knew that the outfield was wet and the ball was going to get wet. Probably, people would rely a lot on swing bowling and swing the ball a lot. So, probably the ball did not swung much because the ball got a little bit wet and the seam got a little bit softer.”
“But credit to the South African batsmen, they came out there and played really well. They took the opportunities whenever the bad balls were bowled and cashed in on them. Maybe a little bit of luck or break we needed today, we didn’t get today. We were excited to go out there and trying to do our best to compete out there but on the day, I think South Africa played better,” concluded Dravid.