Rishabh Pant, a hot prospect in India’s ICC World Cup 2019 squad, added just 4 off 10 before he was cleaned up by Mitchell Santner on Wednesday. @ AFP

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has thrown his weight behind the promising young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s failure in India’s record 80-run defeat in the first Twenty20 International against New Zealand at WestPac Stadium in Wellington on Monday.

Pant, who missed out on the ODI series in Australia and against New Zealand, joined the team earlier this week for the three T20Is. Pant, a hot prospect in India’s ICC World Cup 2019 squad, added just 4 off 10 before he was cleaned up by Mitchell Santner as India were bowled out for 139 chasing a mammoth 220. MS Dhoni top scored with 39 off 31. (ALSO READ: If Shami develops a good yorker, it will be the icing on the cake: Karsan Ghavri)

“I don’t think so [Wellington knock hampered his chances of sealing a World Cup berth]. There are five more matches in India as well the 50-over matches and the T20I matches against the Australians where Rishabh can make an impact,” Gavaskar told India Today on Wednesday.

“And he just arrived in New Zealand. Believe me, it’s very tough to score straightway when you have travelled. The jetlag was still around maybe. I am not trying to make excuses for the young man, it’s just one match and anybody can fail. It’s not a big deal.” (ALSO READ: We leaked runs in the middle overs: Krunal Pandya)

The batting legend-turned-commentator reckons India should not be too concerned about their performance. He pointed out that there’s no harm in trying out different combinations for the showpiece event in England and Wales. India included three wicketkeepers and as many allrounders in Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya in the playing XI.

“No, I don’t think so [missed a trick with the playing XI]. It was the first match of the T20I series. You’re trying to sort of assess the strengths and weaknesses of not just your team but also your opposition. I wouldn’t be too worried about it. T20I can be very unpredictable. The best of teams can lose on the day,” he said. (ALSO READ: ‘Shastri is correct, Kuldeep, not Ashwin, should be India’s main spinner’)

“I think what India is looking at with this T20I how maybe some of the players can be looked at for the 50-over World Cup, which is in a couple of month’s time. So, maybe that’s the reason why Vijay Shankar got the promotion. So, if the team is looking to experiment at this stage, I won’t be worried too much about the result.”