Wasim Jaffer Feels Rishabh Pant “Panics A Bit” In Tough Situations

Wasim Jaffer believes stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant still has a long way to go in improving his mental toughness as a captain. The cricketer-turned-analyst feels Rishabh Pant “panics a bit” in tough situations, something which can only improve with experience.

Wasim Jaffer’s remarks came after the youngster lost his second straight match as the interim Team India captain. South Africa trounced the hosts by four wickets at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series. Heinrich Klaasen toyed with the Indian spinners with a superb one-man-show performance of 81 (46), finishing the 149-run chase with 10 balls to spare.

Despite Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fantastic figures of 4 for 13, Heinrich Klaasen’s superb 81 made it a walk in the park for the Proteas as they knocked off the runs in 18.2 overs.

Wasim Jaffer (L) and Rishabh Pant (R), (PC: BCCI).

Wasim Jaffer: Rishabh Pant Panics A Bit When Match Gets Tight

Rishabh Pant’s captaincy has become subject to intense criticism in both losses. His lack of utilization of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was frowned upon in the first T20I match. Rishabh Pant didn’t complete Yuzvendra Chahal’s full quota of overs, giving him only two until the 19th over of the innings.

The wicketkeeper-batter brought Yuzvendra Chahal for the final over but by then, the game was already in South Africa’s bag with the side needing merely four more runs to win. The leg-spinner conceded 26 off his 2.1 overs in the first T20I against South Africa in Delhi on June 9.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Purple Cap winner was taken off the attack entirely after the eighth over. Fellow spinner Axar Patel completed his quota of overs and recorded figures of 1-40 in his spell.

In the 2nd T20I, he was criticized for relying upon Yuzvendra Chahal and the second spinner, Axar Patel, too much when the situation demanded a fast-bowling-led strategy. In the 2nd T20I, Yuzvendra Chahal was too expensive (1/49 in 4 overs) while Axar Patel gave 19 runs in only 1 over. In an interaction, Wasim Jaffer was asked whether Rishabh Pant changes his plans and strategies too easily.

Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter

The former opener replied in the affirmative, saying: “Yes, we saw something similar in the IPL as well. I feel the more he captains, the better he’ll get. But, yes, at this stage, I think when the match gets tight, he panics a bit.”

Rishabh Pant, in his first IPL season as full-time captain, struggled to find the right balance between attacking and playing it safe during the first half. He improved in the second half, but made a few DRS errors and dropped some crucial catches at key moments which played a role in Delhi Capitals’ (DC) failure to qualify in the top four.

Wasim Jaffer Feels India Needs To Win At Least The Next Two Tosses

Wasim Jaffer also believes that the series has already slipped out of India’s hands. He said the team will need to find a way to beat the toss advantage as Rishabh Pant lost both tosses and dew helped the Proteas’ chases – and bring out their best performance consistently to have a chance at making it 3-2.

He said: “To some extent, yes. Being 2-0 down in a five-match series, if even one of the next three goes even marginally bad [it will be curtains down]. So India will have to play very good cricket irrespective of the toss…”

Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)

Wasim Jaffer also agreed that winning the toss is likely to amount to winning the match for the remainder of the series as well.

The Ranji Trophy legend said: “Yes, that’s been the story so far. South Africa won both the tosses and both results went their way so India needs to win at least the next two tosses.”

The third T20I will be played in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, beginning at the usual 7:00 pm IST. After the third T20I in Vizag, the remaining two matches of the series will be played in Rajkot (June 17) and Bengaluru (June 19).

Brief Scores: 2nd T20I:

India 148/6 (Shreyas Iyer 40, Dinesh Karthik 30 not out, Ishan Kishan 34, Anrich Nortje 2/36, Kagiso Rabada 1/15). South Africa 149/2 in 18.2 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 81, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/13).

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