With a series of below-par performances, young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been under the scanner for a while now and has been facing a lot of heat from Indian cricket fans, especially with the T20 World Cup in sight. Despite possessing some brilliant talent and powerful slogging skills, the Delhi-lad has faced severe criticism for poor shot selection and for losing his wicket carelessly. Recently, skipper Virat Kohli backed Pant and said that it was disrespectful to chant 'Dhoni, Dhoni!' when he underperforms and showed confidence in the wicketkeeper's ability.
After Kohli, legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara also came out to support Pant and said that he is a totally different player than Dhoni and should be given some time to mature.
Veteran West Indies batsman, Brian Lara, while speaking at a show said, "Rishabh Pant came into the game with a lot of aggression and created a lot of excitement. However, the Indian public expects someone to replace MS Dhoni immediately without realising that he is a totally different player." He added, "The World Cup is merely 8-9 months away and the team might decide to select another keeper for the tournament but excessive pressure on him is unnecessary." Lara also agreed with Captain Kohli who had earlier backed Pant and added that the wicketkeeper should be allowed to mature. In the second T20I against West Indies, Virat Kohli had expressed his displeasure when the crowd started chanting Dhoni's name as Pant dropped a catch while India was fielding. Pant also managed to score 33 runs in the first innings of the game and remained not out.
"He is young and he has that energy and enthusiasm, he plays in the IPL, and he plays for India and is just living his dream. There will be a lot of critics around him, he's only 21 (22)," Pietersen said on a TV show. He added that former players and experts criticise Pant because they want him to learn from his mistakes."I observed him very closely during the IPL and he kept making the same mistake and when you do that continuously then pundits, experts and people who have played the game want to criticize you because you should be learning from your mistakes. "