We are ‘missing Pant’, picked Ishan for his batting but will back Bharat: Rohit Sharma

IND vs AUS 4th Test: Even though the Indian lower order has been outstanding with all the three spinners turning out allrounders performances, India have missed the pyrotechnics of Rishabh Pant. Especially, on these turners. “He’s a big miss … Honestly, when you are speaking about (Rishabh) Pant, we all know what he can do with the bat,” Rohit Sharma said on the eve of the final Test match. “Also, the keeping, last couple of years he has kept so well for us on turning wickets and all of that.”

There has been some pre-game chatter about whether Ishan Kishan would replace KS Bharat. On Tuesday, two days ahead of the game, Kishan didn’t do any wicket-keeping drills at the training but on Wednesday, he practiced. A direct question was asked to Rohit about Ishan stepping in for Bharat.

“When we knew that he (Pant) is not going to be available for us, that was one of the reasons we got Ishan (Kishan) in. He’s a left-hander, can play attacking (cricket),” Rohit said.

But he then went on to talk about the need to support Bharat.

“Speaking about (KS) Bharat, he has spent a lot of time in domestic cricket, Ranji Trophy, India A, zonals and he has scored a lot of runs. So, it will be slightly unfair to judge him on these kinds of wickets. Especially if someone is making their debut, you have got to give him enough room or innings for him to set himself up for a big score. That is important.”

Rohit also revealed his pre-Test series chat with Bharat.

“It’s something I spoke to him before the start of the series as well. ‘Do not worry about what kind of pitches we will play, you will get enough time to prove yourself because these pitches are not easy’.

“If you want to play on pitches like that, you have got to be ready for guys failing in some of the innings as well. Then, you have got to back those guys, that’s what we are doing with KS. KS, like I said, he’s got lots of runs. Lots of experience in domestic cricket, good keeper.”

For a while now, Rohit has been talking about how he would like to give a longer rope to his players under his captaincy. It didn’t quite pan that way in T20s in the lead up to the last world cup, with the likes of Deepak Hooda, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, Ishan Kishan in and out.

In the Tests, it seems he is trying. He did his best to back KL Rahul but had to let him go after two Tests as the selectors didn’t concur. Rohit said he has had also chats with Ishan Kishan about the kind of backing he will get in the future.

“I spoke to Ishan also. When he gets his chance, he will get a number of games. We will not drop him after playing just two. It will be unfair.”

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